Nagoya Nears
Eric Blair
As Nagoya nears, EB gets a head start on the pack by focussing on points of interest, past and present surrounding sumo's hottest basho

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
The 42nd yokozuna Kagamisato falls under the JK microscope

Heya Peek
Barbara Ann Klein
Kokonoe-beya and the Chiyo Boys

SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
SFM's Ed-in-Chief interviews Estonian up and comer Baruto

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM's Editor looks at all the twists and turns involved in the tsunauchi-shiki and adds a photo bonanza to boot

Photo Bonanza
See the Natsu
Basho and Kokonoe-beya photo bonanzas

Natsu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Natsu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila lets you know what is going on down below the curtain

Nagoya Ones to Watch
Mark Buckton
MB's mixed bag of things to look out for in Nagoya

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Our man Mikko takes us on a tour of several defensive oriented kimarite

Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
The first of our regular column pieces on the amateur sumo scene from a man who knows more than most

Sumo Game
Bruce Rae
For a look at his very own: PTYW (Pick The Yusho Winners)

Sumo in Print
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM's Editor reviews the newly published biography of Akebono, Gaijin Yokozuna – but sees it as more than just a biography

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Check out Todd's bimonthly focus on 3 of the WWW's best sumo sites around

Fan Debate
Facilitator – Lon Howard
Sumo author Mina Hall and long long time fan Jim Bitgood discuss how to make sumo more entertaining – if such a concept is even necessary

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy the offerings of sumo's premier artists

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that
made you a sumo fan? James Vath in rural Japan lets us in on his gateway to the sport

Readers’ Letters
See what our readers had to say since we last went out

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

Natsu Basho Wrap-Up

Text by Lon Howard
Photos by Barbara Ann Klein
2-1 and though everyone wanted to see him on the dohyo, challenging for the yusho was out of the question for a shin-
nyu-maku. Even if Hakuho could keep piling up the wins, someone must stand up to him if the basho was to have some zing. But who?

The answer was confirmed on day 5 when Tochiazuma was ignominiously spun around by the winless shin-komusubi Ama and then patty-caked out of the straw circle – the last straw in his yokozuna run. Then, in the musubi-no-ichiban, after spinning his opponent around and off-balance, Hakuho carelessly leaned too far forward while pushing him out and was side-stepped and thrust down on the tawara. His challenger for the yusho had just fallen on top of him, and his name was…

Miyabiyama! No foolin.' The same Miyabiyama who lost his ozeki rank nearly five years ago? The same Miyabiyama who – until Haru '06 – hadn't had a double-digit win in sanyaku since before he became ozeki? The same Miyabiyama who has been the butt of more jokes and has borne more denigrating nicknames than the Hunchback – including from yours truly just

It didn't take long for the Natsu basho to dig itself a hole. By the end of day 3, the curtain had fallen on its two main attractions: Yokozuna Asashoryu had withdrawn because of an arm injury suffered against M2 Wakanosato on day 2, and in his do-over tsunatori basho, ozeki Tochiazuma was jerked face-
down to his second defeat by the other M2, Asasekiryu. Now having to win his final 12 bouts to have the slimmest chance of promotion, the race to crown a home-grown yokozuna had pretty much ended before entering the first turn, and there was no yokozuna in sight. What now?

If that wasn't bad enough, also on day 3, two other ozeki – Kaio and Kotooshu – were stewing in their own mess, both now sitting at 1-2. This basho needed CPR from somebody but the resumes of the wanna-bes were not encouraging. Newly-minted ozeki Hakuho seemed the most likely – he was 3-0 – but shin-
ozeki usually struggled, so how long could he keep it up? Ozeki Chiyotaikai was also 3-0, but that was nothing new for him – no one even holding his or her


breath there. A name on everyone's lips was M11 Baruto. The 21-year-old Estonian strong-boy had squeezed, bashed, lifted and tossed nearly all comers on his way to the top division and had just recorded a nearly unheard-of juryo zensho yusho in Haru. He now stood at
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