Aspiring Champions Square Off
Day one certainly had some lackluster matches, but with any luck day 2 will provide a thrill. Without a doubt the schedulers at the Japan Sumo Association decided to toe two of the great story threads together early. Aspiring Yokozuna Goedio will face off against aspiring Ozeki Takayasu.
Meanwhile, given rumors of Okinoumi’s injury, we shudder to think about his face off against Yoshikaze, who gives no quarter.
Notable Matches, Day 2
Ichinojo vs Chiyootori – Ichinojo looked very poor on day 1. No strength, no agility, he looked pretty much lost. Chiyootori won fairly convincingly, so it will be interesting to see if Ichinojo was just rusty after 6 months off, or if he really is starting over.
Kotoyuki vs Shohozan – Shohozan has a good start, but Kotoyuki’s day one match was a real grind which he narrowly lost. This one is a toss up, and could be a great contest of strength sumo
Yoshikaze vs Okinoumi – Yoshikaze is back in good condition, and his day 1 bout was not a slap and push fest, but was rather a strength duel. Okinoumi is rumored to be very hurt, and if true this could be really painful to watch.
Goeido vs Takayasu – In my mind, this is the match of the day. Two rikishi who are pushing forward on a path to promotion, each one needing a win to secure their advance. They meet day two, and only one will be a winner. Goeido fought day one in the same style as his Aki “total offense” style. With Takayasu being a “war of attrition” rikishi, I give an advantage to Goeido
Kotoshogiku vs Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi lost to a resurgent Kakuryu on day one, but did a fairly good job against the grand champion. Now he faces an Ozeki with one approach to any match, but he is the master of the hug-n-chug. I am really keen to see if Mitakeumi can foil Kotoshogiku’s offense
Tamawashi vs Kisenosato – Tamawashi dispatched Harumafuji with little difficulty on day one. Now he faces mass and strength rather and guile and speed. Tamawashi os destined for greatness, he will present well against Kisenosato day 2.
Hakuho vs Aoiyama – Hakuho won on the first day, but did not look to be completely engaged. Winning here would give him 999 wins, which will be a magnificent and well earned achievement. In contrast, Aoiyama looked completely out of his element on the first day. With any luck he will warm up and give the Yokozuna a proper challenge.
Tochiozan vs Kakuryu – Kakuryu looked strong day 1, dispatching Mitakeumi. Now it’s time for Tochiozan. While he is a favorite of mine, he is competing in a very tough group during Kyushu. I expect Kakuryu to win day 2.