After covering day one yesterday, lets dive into the scheduled action for the second day of the Grand Sumo September tournament in Tokyo. With Hakuho getting medical attention for lingering injuries sustained in Nagoya, the tournament is wide open. The fans in Japan are strongly hoping that Kisenosato can win, and secure his ascension to Sumo’s highest rank: Yokozuna.
The match schedule started strong on day one, with some amazing match ups coming right out of the gate. Day two is a bit more predictable, the expected march of a sumo tournament. Word to the readers – the match ups are determined a day or two in advance, and do not follow a set formula. The Sumo Association will frequently tailor the matches based on who has a winning and who has a losing record. So handicapping these daily “torikumi” publications are of great interest.
Ikioi v Tamawashi – I want, oh how I want Ikioi to have a good tournament. He has been hit or miss in the last year or so, but he has a strong following among the fans in Japan, and is a bit of a media darling. Tamawashi is yet another strong Mongolian who has also been bouncing up and down the banzuke. They are both pusher / thruster guys, so whatever happens, I predict a lot of pounding on each other.
Aoiyama v Chiyonofuji – Speed and guile vs mass and power. Sumo fans love this kind of match up, as it is really easy for sumotori to just turn into giant mounds of flesh as a proven way to rank. Then you have guys Chiyonofuji (and Harumafuji, too) that stay small, get strong and focus on strength and mechanics as a way to win. Prediction – lord knows, but it will be great to watch this one.
Takanoiwa v Takarafuji – Takanoiwa was in a three way tie to win Nagoya during the final week of that tournament. As a result he received a massive promotion and now faces some tough opponents. The ascendant Takarafuji was very strong in Nagoya, but Takanoiwa went 12-3 thanks to a lot of great technique, speed and creativity. Prediction Takanoiwa will try a couple of throws and then Takarafuji will give him a nice yorikiri
Kisenosato v Tochiozan – Tochiozan has been looking really good, in fact I think he could be Ozeki material himself. I look at this bout as more of a master class instructed by a great Ozeki, Kisenosato, to a up-and-comer. Tochiozan prefers thrusting attacks, where Kisenosato is hug and chug. My prediction is that Kise will help Tochiozan understand that the upper ranks of sumo focus on the mawashi (belt), where mass and strength (rather than lightning speed) pay the bills.
Harumafuji v Yoshikaze – Well, the rematch of the Nagoya “Street fight” was bound to happen some time, but I assumed they would save it for week two. Oh no, why do that? Let’s have these guys bash each other silly on day two! With all due respect to Nagoya champion Harumafuji – when it comes to Yoshikaze, you are a kinboshi (special prize when a rank and file wrestler defeats a Yokozuna) vending machine. Prediction – Blood on the dohyo