Day 8, Nakabe – the middle day of the basho, is upon us, and the scheduling team has gone wild putting most of our “Ones to Watch” on the torikumi. Are we excited? Yes indeed! We almost got Herouth’s hoped for match of Ura vs Hoshoryu, but Hoshoryu is taking on Ichiyamamoto (also one of our ones to watch) instead. Should they both win or both lose, they could face each other next.
We also have fan favorite Wakaichiro fighting early in the day, along with several of his Musashigawa stablemates. It’s going to be wall to wall, and Tachiai will be glued to our streams from the start.
Hattorizakura vs Shishimaru – What would nakabe be without the perpetual parade of defeats brought to us by the little guy? We would all love to see him win for a change, but first he must WANT to win.
Wakaichiro vs Asanoshima – I can’t describe how excited I am to see the rikishi from Humble, TX face off against 3-0 Asanoshima. This is in fact a rematch, with Wakaichiro winning their prior match. Asanoshima has been in sumo since the mid 2000s, so it’s youth against experience tonight.
Shoji va Saionji – A 2-1 bracket match pits Musashigawa’s Shoji against Sandanme mainstay Saionji from Shikihide heya. This will probably come down to the all important tachiai, as the two are fairly equally matched.
Torakio vs Kaizen – The scion of Naruto heya faces Asakayama heya’s Kaizen in this 2-1 bracket match. Kaizen has been flipping between Makushita and Sandanme, and tends to get a kachi-koshi at this rank. I predict it will be a bit of an uphill challenge for Torakio.
Musashikuni vs Aozora – A note on Musashikuni (nephew of former Yokozuna Musashimaru), he seems to have suffered a foot injury a few weeks a go, and it has been negatively impacting his sumo. Coming into this match 0-3, make-koshi is on the line, and we hope Musashikuni can find a way to endure the physical challenge and win.
Midorifuji vs Kainoryu – Ushering in the fan favorite section of Makushita, Midorifuji will take on Kainoryu in a 1-2 bracket match. Kainoryu is fighting at his highest ever rank, and looking to pick up 3 wins from the last 4 matches. But former Kinki University rikishi Midorifuji will be no easy mark.
Ura vs Kairyu – This 2-1 bracket match is back to back with another pair of high interest rikishi, and I suspect the atmosphere in the Kokugikan may be closer to that of a top division match for a few minutes. Ura’s opponent is a 28 year old veteran who has been ranked as high as Makushita 2, and represents the kind of rikishi he will have to fight is way past to return to the Juryo ranks.
Hoshoryu vs Ichiyamamoto – Immediately following the Ura match, fan favorite Hoshoryu mounts the dohyo for another 2-1 bracket match. He faces another of our “ones to watch”, former Chuo University star Ichiyamamoto. This one has a lot of potential as well!