After a great Day 1, it seemed like some of the early basho rust began to show on the second day of the 2018 Hatsu Basho. We may see a bit more rust tomorrow as Rikishi get back into the swing of things. That being said, so far I’ve been very impressed with many of the young rikishi at the bottom of the banzuke. Here are a few Day 3 undercard matches that should be entertaining, including several first time encounters.
Ryuden vs. Asanoyama
The day starts off with what should be an excellent matchup between Asanoyama and Ryuden. Asanoyama looked dialed in on Day 2 and easily took care of Nishikigi. His more serious demeanor seems to be doing wonders for his sumo. Ryuden was not so lucky on Monday, and he will be looking to get back into the win column on Day 3. This bout has the potential to become an uwatenage competition, as both men are known for their skillful throwing techniques. They have met once before in Juryo at the 2017 Natsu Basho in a match Asanoyama won.
Ishiura vs. Daiamami
Ishiura and Daiamami will face off for the first time in their careers on Day 3. Ishiura is no stranger to fighting much larger rikishi and has beaten behemoths like Ichinojo, Chiyotairyu, and Chiyomaru with his patented submarine attack. The only difference now is that pretty much everyone and their okasan knows how to deal with Ishiura’s favorite move. Given that Daiamami has never taken on Ishiura, we may see the smaller man try the submarine once more. Daiamami will have to be quick on his feet if he wants to pick up his second win.
Takekaze vs. Abi
While watching Takekaze this morning, I realized that if he were fifteen years younger he’d fit in quite well with the rest of the tadpole brigade. Therefore, from now on I’ll be dubbing the veteran rikishi Grampa Bullfrog. On Day 3, Grampa Bullfrog will square off against newcomer Abi, who again over-committed in his match with Ishiura yesterday and paid the price. This is another first-time matchup, and both men will be looking to secure their first win this basho.
Daieisho vs. Kagayaki
It may be too early to tell, but Kagayaki might finally be coming into his own this Basho. He looks far more focused and comfortable on the dohyo and has dominated his opponents so far. Tomorrow he takes on Daieisho, another member of the tadpoles. These two have a very long rivalry going, and have met eleven times previously. Kagayaki has won 6 of their bouts. Will Daieisho even their series, or will Kagayaki keep chugging along?
Sokokurai vs. Aminishiki
Aminishiki surprised me with his straightforward win against Chiyomaru today, and I was even more surprised that his knees survived pushing around Chiyo’s bulk! On Day 3 he meets another wily veteran in Sokokurai, who has a history of using all the tricks of the trade to outmaneuver his opponent. Wouldn’t it be something if Sokokurai pulled a henka only for Aminishiki to side step him at the bales? This should prove to be a very interesting match.
Terunofuji vs. Daishomaru
Despite Terunofuji having the size advantage, my money is on Daishomaru to win when these two meet for the first time on Day 3. Time and time again we at Tachiai have stated that Terunofuji is not well, and at this point, it’s depressing to watch the man everyone pegged as the next Yokozuna barely able to hold his own on the dohyo. At Maegashira 10, were Terunofuji to pull out he would very likely drop out of the Makuuchi division. But if he soldiers on he risks cutting his career short before he reaches his full potential. Unless he follows in Ura’s footsteps and goes down the route of medical intervention, I fear we will continue to see the mighty Kaiju get his mawashi handed to him for some time to come.
This Basho has just started and already things are heating up! Here’s hoping Day 3 is just as good, if not better!