Thus it ends. There is no joy in the event, just a grim acceptance that a great competitor has embraced the truth and accepted his fate. I recall the jubilation throughout the sumo world when Kisenosato was elevated to Yokozuna. The photo above is from a joint session of the ichimon to weave his first tsuna, and the triumphant faces, beaming with joy and optimism welcomed a new day in sumo. But fear not dear readers, there will be more days like this, and they will come soon.
There are a trio of high stakes matches on day 4, where 3-0 rikishi face off against each other in a “mini-darwin” match, where only one will keep their spotless record.
(an abbreviated preview tonight)
What We Are Watching Day 4
Chiyonokuni vs Aminishiki – Uncle sumo comes to visit the top division, and its time to see if Chiyonokuni’s opening win streak can survive a wily veteran. Chiyonokuni won their only prior match, but it’s anyone’s guess.
Kagayaki vs Yago – Yago brings a lot of bulk and a loft of strength to his sumo. Kagayaki brings a focus on the fundamentals, and a recent habit of opening head wounds in his opponents. Kagayaki, at 1-2, needs to get back to racking up wins, or he may swim in the lower part of the banzuke for a while.
Abi vs Endo – With the exception of the genuinely massive Kaisei, Endo has returned to good form, and is winning. Of course when you go up against a human chaos generator named Abi, all your plans are worth little.
Ryuden vs Asanoyama – Both of these rikishi are in sad shape, with Asanoyama having zero wins going into day 4. Ryuden is not much better, and looks to be in poor form. Perhaps a touch of Takayasu’s flu?
Kaisei vs Daieisho – Kaisei is unbeaten so far, and holds a 4-2 career lead over Daieisho. When Kaisei is working his sumo well, his amazing mass makes him tough to beat.
Aoiyama vs Onosho – Big, screaming match of awesome for today. Both are undefeated, both are powerhouse sekitori. Onosho will need to withstand Aoiyama’s brutal long-range attacks to generate any offense, so it’s going to be an ugly match no matter what.
Kotoshogiku vs Shohozan – It surprises me to say it, but Shohozan has yet to win one. In contrast, Kotoshogiku looks impressively genki, and I am starting to wonder how far he can take it.
Takakeisho vs Mitakeumi – Tadpole fight! Both are undefeated, both won a yusho in 2018, both are gunning for a shot at higher ranks. Mitakeumi is looking better this basho than he has since his yusho. But Takakeisho has been dead amazing with his unrestricted use of his wave-action attack. The second Darwin match of the day.
Tamawashi vs Tochinoshin – Oh Tochinoshin, how are you going to get this done? Clearly he is hurt, but he is in a bit of a trap. Take kyujo and try to get that leg fixed? Or keep going hoping you can find 8 wins in the next 12 days?
Ichinojo vs Goeido – Get this, you get up in the morning, you are hurt, you are having problems with your arm, and you are scheduled to fight a bridge abutment from the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge. Goeido is also winless, and has a similar ugly choice. The two have faced off on the dohyo 15 times, with Ichinojo prevailing in 7 of these bouts.
Takayasu vs Tochiozan – I am hoping that Takayasu is slowly recovering. He faces a longtime nemesis in Tochiozan, who holds a 19-7 career edge, so he needs to get back to Ozeki class sumo today. Then there is the distraction of his senpai’s retirement announcement (triggered by a loss to none other than Tochiozan). Good luck Ozeki, we are all pulling for you.
Kakuryu vs Myogiryu – Kakuryu is either hurt, or had a bit of bad luck. I am going to guess today will tell us which. His career record with Myogiryu is 9-8, so it’s a square fight all around. Kakuryu wins a lot of matches by being highly mobile, and we have not seen that this tournament.
Hokutofuji vs Hakuho – The third and final match of the undefeated rikishi. This one would seem to be greatly in favor of Hakuho, but Hokutofuji is really fighting well. Hokutofuji’s biggest weakness is that his opening gambit is predictable, and that will not hold up well against The Boss.