We start the November Tournament with some key match-ups on Day One, headed by Terunofuji vs Ichinojo. While Terunofuji has the decisive 5-1 winning record, he is coming off injury and Ichinojo is not exactly a creampuff. If Ichinojo were to win, it could take Terunofuji out of championship contention very early in the tournament. They know each other very well, having met in every tournament over the past year. Early on in their rivalry they seemed evenly matched but since their epic water-break bout in the Spring, Terunofuji has been dominant. But with Ichinojo’s size, he can certainly play spoiler.
Likewise, Kisenosato has the dominant historical winning record against Osunaarasahi but I would not count the aggressive Egyptian out. If healthy, this has upset written all over it. However, my upset call is going to be Kakuryu vs Yoshikaze. Yoshikaze can make a strong impression early by taking down the yokozuna. Kakuryu holds a slim 6-4 lead in their match history with an even more even 2-2 head-to-head over the last two years.The komusubi has won the latest two bouts and I think the crowd would go bananas if Kakuryu tried to henka his way to a quick win here. Even so, I’m still calling a sloppy henka win for the yokozuna.
I’m also going to be watching for Tochinoshin to finally beat Hakuho on the 20th attempt. If Tochiozan wants to keep his ozeki hopes alive, he’ll need to get winning early. Also, Myogiryu will be facing the gold-star ATM, Harunamfuji.