We Close Out The Second Act.
Day 10 brings us to the end of the middle third of the last basho of the year. While there is a huge amount of attention being payed to who will win the Emperor’s Cup, one fascinating metric is total wins for calendar year 2016. In the past several years, the winner has been Hakuho. Due to his surgery and recovery, the statistic for total wins this year is (as of day 10) a tie between Harumafuji and Kisenosato.
Sokokurai vs Ishiura – First time meeting between these two, so who knows what to expect. Ishiura has been unstoppable thus far, I can’t wait to see what Sokokurai will bring. He is normally a yori-kiri kind of guy, so lets see if they grapple or push.
Ichinojo vs Toyohibiki – Prior meet ups between these two have been all Ichinojo’s game, and he tends to want to throw Toyohibiki.
Ikioi vs Chiyootori – Ikioi has been having a good basho so far. On day 8 he had a tooth knocked out (I think the Japanese press said it was a crown) via a collision during tachiai with Chiyokuni. Day 9 he looked vague and lost. His record against Chiyootori is a losing one, so Ikioi must apply himself.
Arawashi vs Takanoiwa – Arawashi is one win away from kachi-koshi, but he may have his hand full with Takanoiwa, who has a track record of overpowering the lighter Arawashi.
Chiyoshoma vs Tochinoshin – Chiyoshoma is also one win from kachi-koshi, but Tochinoshin seems newly energized by the Shimpan debacle of day 8. This will be the first time he has faced Chiyoshoma, who has been favoring pull downs early in the match. Tochinoshin tends to have a very careful tachiai approach, so I look for him to get a solid left hand grip early if he wants to win.
Endo vs Nishikigi – Nishikigi is having a terrible basho, with a losing 3-6 record going into day 10. His chances of improvement are slim, as Endo tends to fold him up and put him away dirty.
Takarafuji vs Shodai – Match up of thrusting attacks, would be my guess. Shodai has been favoring belt sumo more this tournament, and he is also in the ranks of one win from kachi-koshi. He has a slight edge on this match in terms of trend and form for Kyushu, but Takarafuji has to be feeling the pressure now.
Today’s Sanyaku Buffet
Goeido vs Kotoshogiku – Goeido, will he settle down and return to the form of the good Goeido, or stay in the form of the bad Goeido? We at Tachiai always want to see the good Goeido, that guy is amazing. In facing Kotoshogiku, if ‘Ku gets set and starts to hug-n-chug, it usually ends up with Kotoshogiku winning. Goeido will look to stay mobile and attack at the first weakness. Record slightly favors Goeido. Kotoshogiku is starting to worry me that he is going kadoban again.
Hakuho vs Kisenosato – These two have a long history of outstanding sumo, and many of their matches have been worthy of highlight reels. History favors Hakuho by a 3x margin, so it’s up to Kisenosato to surprise and confound the Yokozuna. Kisenosato is not known for invention, so it’s likely we see Hakuho package and ship the Great Pumpkin into the seats quickly.
Terunofuji vs Kakuryu – Oh please, Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan, let it be Terunofuji who breaks Kakuryu’s winning streak. That would be so wonderful, so amazing and the sumo world would shout for joy. Not only would it give the injured Terunofuji his kachi-koshi, but it would blow the yusho race wide open. History shows that Terunofuji actually wins against Kakuryu most of the time, but Terunofuji is still hurt.
Harumafuji vs Takayasu – I worry that Takayasu is going make-koshi in Kyushu, which would be a great tragedy. Day 10 he faces Harumafuji, who he seldom wins against. I am just hoping that Harumafuji puts away some of his tired moves and shows us his Yokozuna talents.