Goeido Remains Undefeated – For How Long?
Chasers (6-1): Harumafuji, Okinoumi, Endo
Hunt Group (5-2): Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku, Takayasu, Mitakeumi, Ikioi, Kotoyuki, Kyokushuho
Greetings dear sumo fans, followers of the glorious Tachiai web site, and to all the ships at sea. After spending the day returning to the glorious US West Coast, I am ready once more to bring you a peek at what is about to happen in Tokyo. Sadly I missed most of the thrills of today’s amazing day 7, but thanks to Andy who gave us the specifics.
With Okinoumi dealt his first defeat, he will likely continue the chase, now tied with the great Harumafuji (The Horse) for the second tier. Kisenosato is 2 wins behind Goeido, but unless someone stops Goeido, it might as well be 0-7 in terms of The Great Pumpkin’s dream of yusho and ascendancy to Yokozuna, sumo’s highest and most exalted rank.
As many (including myself) have commented, if Okinoumi had won, it was likely he would win the basho, and was quite possible he could do it undefeated, including earning the coveted and exotic zenyusho. But when Goeido twirled him out by the mawashi today, the sumo deities chose a more complex and interesting path.
From here on out, Okinoumi faces primarily lower ranked wrestlers. Goeido faces the bulk of the raging san’yaku battle fleet. But first, Goeido faces the Mad Max of sumo, Yoshikaze. As readers of Tachiai would know, I have my concerns about just how healed up he was able to be (and trained up) given the last basho sent him to the hospital. Clearly he has been capable but less impactful than the Nagoya basho. But tomorrow Yoshikaze can play the role of equalizer. If he can manage to defeat Goeido, it will even his win / loss ratio, but it will toss the entire basho back up in the air.
With a Berserker win, suddenly now your leaders are: Goeido, Harumafuji, Okinoumi, Endo. With Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku, and Takayasu one behind and suddenly in contention. Kisenosato’s yokozuna campaign becomes possibly once more, Harumafuji is in position to capture back-to-back yushos and everyone has to sweat Okinoumi’s easy second half.
Suffice to say, it would be one of the more compelling moves that could take place in this tournament.
Notable Matches, Day 8
Amakaze v Daieisho – I want to see the big “Kaze” at least make kachi-koshi, so I am hoping he wins a few more soon. I will not be surprised if he floats back down to Juryo for another basho or two, but as he has shown with some of his surprising athletics, he will be a full time Makuuchi rikishi soon.
Gagamaru v Chiyoshoma – Gagamaru looking highly upset following his day 7 match with Ikioi, and we hope the Georgia satellite was not injured in the match. I give a slight advantage to Chiyoshoma, who in spite of losing to Shohozan on day 7, is looking very strong.
Kyokushuho v Sadanoumi – 5-2 is a great record at this point of any basho. 5-2 in a basho where you are Maegashira 15 astounding. Day 8 he faces Sadanoumi, who is going to present some challenge, still I think advantage Kyokushuho.
Nishikigi v Tokushoryu – Nishikigi gets a fairly easy bout, I think the Isenoumi beya wrestler will win and even up his record.
Endo v Ikioi – It’s Elvis and Buddy Holly going at it, sumo style. Seriously, I love both these guys, but they had to match at some point. Slight advantage to Endo in my book. But my biggest hope is neither get hurt.
Chiyonokuni v Kotoyuki – Wow, going to be a mad cap war for about 15 seconds. I give a slight advantage to Kotoyuki, if no other reason I have seen him “Hulk smash” twice already this basho. He seems to be getting bigger and greener each day.
Tochinoshin v Daishomaru – I hate to say this, but Tochinoshin – would you consider going kuyjo? Clearly you are at about 80%, and your competitiveness is driving you into the ring. Your fans (like me) want to see you healthy. Think about it, sir.
Shohozan v Shodai – While I am dispensing advice, Shodai – you need a vacation sir. You have been folded, spindled and mutilated. Shohozan won’t provide a face saving win to Shodai, I expect
Takayasu v Takarafuji – YES! Sekiwake throw down coming on Day 8! Pulling for the mighty Takayasu on this one. But what makes this so great is that Takarafuji, who every time I look at him I think of the “muscle” teamster that they use to make sure everyone behaves, is not going to give it up easy.
Goeido v Yoshikaze – Not the final match of the day, but one that everyone will be riveted on. Right now I am just pulling for Yoshikaze to make his kachi-koshi and take a couple of months to train up and heal. But this one has the possibility of being the great equalizer for the entire basho. As every time Yoshikaze steps to the dohyo this tournament, I pray he is not injured. He seems to be taking a lot of blows to the face and eyes.
Kisenosato v Myogiryu – Not a lock, Myogiryu had a great tachiai against The Horse, and for a moment really brought the fight to the champ. If Kisenosato can get his right hand mawashi grip, he wins.
Takanoiwa v Kakuryu – Takanoiwa (Maegashira 3) will likely lose to the Yokozuna, but I hope he gives Kakuryu a good fight. I want to see a stronger, more aggressive Kakuryu soon.