On the torikumi for Day Two, there is one match-up that sticks out: Takayasu vs Mitakeumi. This is the only bout among two Makuuchi Day One winners. All of the other bouts feature a winner versus a loser, except for Yutakayama/Chiyomaru…but Chiyomaru is visiting from Juryo.
Takayasu has the advantage in the head-to-head matchups, with 11 wins and 5 losses. Takayasu should win over the injured Mitakeumi. However, the same was said of Kakuryu, so let’s look deeper into what tomorrow’s bout offers.
There’s a bit of contrast in styles here with Takayasu more of a belt specialist than Mitakeumi. Takayasu has a wide ranging skill set, effective with hatakikomi, throws, and oshi- and tsuki- weapons in a virtual Batman utility belt. He has beaten Mitakeumi three times with throws so we can expect him to fight for a good belt grip.
The Komusubi comes in losing more frequently to yorikiri than any other kimarite. In contrast to the ozeki, who has 10 more years of experience, almost all of Mitakeumi’s bouts come down to straight forward yorikiri and oshidashi. He clearly favors oshidashi over yorikiri, though. Today’s surprise win over Kakuryu should give a glimpse into an effective strategy with that weakened knee: keep Takayasu off the belt and hopefully off balance.
A few other big story lines to follow in tomorrow’s action:
Hakuho vs Endo: The GOAT was not challenged today by Hokutofuji. Endo’s nerves may have gotten the best of him against Goeido. Will Endo relax and offer resistance, or will Hakuho walk into Day 3 without having to break a sweat?
Kakuryu vs Kaisei: Kakuryu put a lot of pressure onto himself with the wild loss against Mitakeumi. John Gunning made a good point that seeing Kakuryu retreat would be a really bad sign. We didn’t see retreating, but spinning and uncertainty.
Goeido vs Hokutofuji: The Ozeki looked solid against Endo until the slip at the end. Hokutofuji was just a mess (I would be, too, tbqh). Let’s hope both shake off the ring rust by tomorow.
Tochinoshin vs Myogiryu: Myogiryu loses 14% of his bouts to hatakikomi and Tochinoshin seems to want a new weapon. An incredible 51% of his wins come by yorikiri and hatakikomi, or a throw may be quite effective.
Takakeisho vs Nishikigi: This is a firecracker battle. If I hadn’t already circled Takayasu against Mitakeumi, this would be my match of the day.
Ichinojo vs Shodai: All kidding aside, Shodai is a long way from challenging for a yusho. But the Ichinojo from today could easily be in the horse race next weekend.
Yago vs Ikioi: Ikioi blasted Shohozan today and I am looking forward to seeing this ferocity tomorrow. Yago will have his hands full with the veteran.
Is it just me or does it look like Kagayaki lost weight?