Can Harumafuji Stop Goeido?
At the end of day 12, Goeido is on a drive that includes a possible zenshō, a perfect tournament record victory. He seems unstoppable, with his nearest competitor 2 wins behind him. There are, mathematically, two possible matches left to prevent this outcome, and it starts with Harumafuji on day 13.
Today, we saw the classic Harumafuji “Spin Cycle” against Kotoshogiku, and it was devastatingly effective. Out of all the fantastic attack strategies Harumafuji employs, sumo fans are dreaming of an epic battle to end the day Friday.
Among the sekitori hunting Goeido, Takayasu has already faced him, and lost.
- Leader (12-0): Goeido
- Hunt Group (10-2): Harumafuji, Takayasu, Endo
- 3 Days Remain
Matches of Note
Harumafuji v Goeido – This one likely determines if Goeido takes the cup. There are two people in sumo you can look to for a fierce battle, the sidelined Hakuho, and the defending cup holder, Harumafuji. I don’t expect Goeido on defense at all, and I expect him to move early to get Harumafuji off balance. His victory in the upper ranks have focused on getting his opponent to react to an unexpected move, and then strike in an instant as they are between moves. Normally Harumafuji could send him sailing into the crowd, but this tournament Goeido is in top form.
Kisenosato v Kakuryu – Both these sanyaku are struggling, both of them are under performing, both of them need to take a recovery break after this basho, get healthy and get their head back in the game. Kakuryu is doing well for an Ozeki, but is not up to Yokozuna levels. Kisenosato had one job to do, and the easiest conditions to accomplish it. He failed.
Takayasu v Mitakeumi – Interesting classroom sessions for Mitakeumi. Both rikishi are well into kachi-koshi, and this is really to see how many wins they can rack up. Takayasu is now banking scalps for a possibly Ozeki bid in Kyushu, and Mitakeumi is looking to test himself.
Okinoumi v Aoiyama – The winner achieves kachi-koshi. Okinoumi faded completely from his outstanding first day performance. It would be unsettling if he could not find a way to get the enormous Aoiyama down.
Shohozan v Endo – Endo is racking up a lot of wins down at the bottom of makuuchi. Shohozan is looking for secure a winning record and a likely promotion higher up the banzuke.