Goeido’s match against Aoiyama and Okinoumi vs Kaisei are very similar to me. Aoiyama and Kaisei are capable spoilers and both Goeido and Okinoumi are usually very inconsistent yet suddenly strong. There has, however, been a very distinct difference. Goeido’s form has been exceptional. From his squat posture able to weather attacks from weaker opponents and maintain pressure until he finishes them off – 5 yorikiri wins and a yoritaoshi win in 8 bouts. With Aoiyama, I expect the same. Aoiyama’s man boobs flapping as he slaps but Goeido steadily working him to the edge and out of the dohyo.
Okinoumi, though, has been less single-minded and more flexible. He’s surely going to win a technique prize with 6 different kimarite in his seven wins. The hardest part of his schedule over, he needs to hold steady and be patient. Goeido, on the other hand will be steadily challenged over the next week by stronger sanyaku opponents with more tricks up their sleeves…except for Giku, the 1-trick pony. Even there, though, he’ll need to borrow Okinoumi’s blueprint and use lateral movement if he doesn’t want to be bunny-hopped out.
Harumafuji’s been his usual frenetic self against the weaker first weak opponents. Tochiozan is strong but he doesn’t seem to do well against Harumafuji’s speed. The yokozuna’s won each of their last 7 bouts. Endo will be challenged by Sokokurai. Sokokurai is a sly dude.
Outside of those leadership bouts, I’m looking forward to Kotoyuki v Ikioi. Both are doing well in the mid-maegashira ranks and will likely get 9 or 10 wins this basho (so they can get beaten up again next tournament). Also, Myogiryu will be a handful for the struggling Kakuryu. I’d usually be super-excited about Tochinoshi and Yoshikaze but neither seem 100%. And in those cases, as with Osunaarashi, I’d like to see them sit.