On paper, most of the matches involving the top rankers look a little meh. Yutakayama returns from his injury absence only to get thrown into the deep end of the pool against Hakuho. We can only hope Yutakayama has recovered and is not being rushed back into the fray prematurely.
After his struggle against Chiyonokuni today, Kisenosato will look to come back strong against Tamawashi, who’s only beaten him once—but that was the last time they faced off. The Komusubi will be motivated to avoid a make-koshi-clinching eighth loss on the eighth day of the basho. He’s pulled off some last-week magic to save his rank before, but it will be tough to recover from a 0-7 start.
Kakuryu has owned Ichinojo even when the latter was fighting well, and a bout against the current version of the Sekiwake looks like a mismatch. Similarly, it should be all Takayasu in his bout with Shodai. And 6-1 Mitakeumi will look to continue his Ozeki run against 0-7 Ikioi, who is zero for six against the Sekiwake. The bout between Takakeisho and Kaisei could be an entertaining clash of styles, and both men have fought well, but their records stand at 2-5 and 3-4, respectively.
Now, the big exception: we get the first clash of the upper two ranks, with Ozeki Goeido taking on kadoban Ozeki Tochinoshin. Goeido, at 6-1, is only one win off the pace in the yusho race, and is fighting well, although there is a difference between week one Goeido and week two Goeido. Tochinoshin, at 5-2, is still not out of the race himself, and, more importantly, needs three more victories to defend his Ozeki rank. The two rikishi have met 25 times, with the record favoring Goeido 15-10, but it’s been very even recently. Oh, and in case the big Georgian needs extra motivation, remember what happened the last time they met?