Welcome to the start of act 2! We sort the survivors from the damned, and we get our first look at the yusho race. The second act also includes the middle weekend of the tournament, and we know that NHK World Japan will be doing another Grand Sumo Live broadcast for the final hours of Makuuchi on day 8 (Sunday), which works out to the early morning hours of Sunday in the USA. We also know that a number of great folks who are friends of Tachiai will be in the Kokugikan taking on the sights and sounds of the day. As always, we will bring you all the coverage.
What We Are Watching Day 6
Daishoho vs Kotoeko – Kotoeko has been producing some of the most consistently fun to watch sumo this basho. The guy is fairly small without being an Enho-class pixie, he’s got a lot of strength, and each match features a flurry of frantic sumo delivered with power. The fun fact is that Kotoeko and Daishoho have a good history in the lower division, and they come into day 6 with an even 5-5 record across their career.
Tokushoryu vs Chiyoshoma – This one just screams henka.
Chiyomaru vs Ishiura – Also enough henka bait to lure Harumafuji out of retirement with Aminishiki ready for support.
Terutsuyoshi vs Sadanoumi – First-time match between these two, with Terutsuyoshi clearly still struggling to find his groove in the top division now 1⅓ tournaments in. Sadanoumi has been around enough that unless Terutsuyoshi has a good battle plan and can execute well in the first few seconds, Terutsuyoshi is likely to see loss #4.
Enho vs Yago – Yago is this bulky bison kind of fellow. Even his head is ridiculously meaty, and I sometimes think that his head could easily win the Jonidan yusho on its own should it ever detach from his body. Enho is expected to do the hop-and-duck tachiai popularized by Mianoumi, and then latch on firmly to any exposed extremity and pull with vigor. Come to think of it, should he catch a grip of Yago’s neck, we may still get to see that Jonidan yusho bid.
Nishikigi vs Shohozan – The enchanted Cinderella man that was Nishikigi seems to be on holiday somewhere, and we return to the normal work-a-day Nishikigi who can’t remember which tsukibeto has his spectacles. I want to see the guy who survived in the joi-jin for a while come back. Shohozan is likely to take the current Nishikigi to the wood shed in short order.
Kagayaki vs Tomokaze – Kagayaki is a mess right now. I am not sure if he is hurt, or just at a transitional phase in his training. But it’s not working out for him at the moment, and even his distracting man-boobs seem to have called it a day. Tomokaze won their only prior match.
Onosho vs Asanoyama – This match gives me great pain, as I want them both to win. It’s clear that Asanoyama is having a great start to the tournament—a win today would tie his longest unbeaten streak to start a tournament, which was back at Hatsu in 2018, where he finished 10-5 with a tiny Kanto-sho for his debut (at Maegashira 16). Onosho on the other hand has a problem with balance that has only gotten worse since his knee surgery. I wish I could find a way to recommend yoga for Onosho; it did wonders for my balance.
Kaisei vs Yoshikaze – Yoshikaze has a tough time with Kaisei, probably due to the huge amount of mass that has to be shuffled off the dohyo or down to the clay. Yoshikaze has always been about speed, but there are no fast roads in Kaisei-town. Kaisei holds a 12-4 career lead.
Myogiryu vs Shodai – I am going to watch Shodai do some great “stunt sumo” again on day 6, and it’s marvelously fun or annoying. Myogiryu is looking far off his sumo this basho, and I expect that as long as Shodai does not do anything too egregious at the tachiai, he should be able to control Myogiryu.
Meisei vs Ryuden – I really like Meisei’s chances against Shin-Ikioi today, as Meisei has been showing some good balance and footwork even though he has a 2-3 record coming into the match. [The head-to-head favors Meisei 7-4. -lksumo] Overall I think Ryuden is looking like a good candidate for a top Maegashira slot in the sweatbox of Nagoya.
Takarafuji vs Abi – Takarafuji will want to go chest to chest, Abi will want to windmill the Isegahama man into submission. Will this be a quick slap-slap-down event, or some kind of epic battle that makes us all cheer?
Endo vs Okinoumi – Both of these banged up rikishi come into day 6 with a meager 1-4 record, both of them are on course for a make-koshi, and both of them are safe from any serious demotion threat. Both of them are fairly technical, and I personally think Okinoumi is fighting better right now.
Aoiyama vs Hokutofuji – Battle of the punching-bags, as both men have been chew-toys for the upper named ranks for the past few days. Both of them have a 1-4 record to show for it. Hokutofuji is going to try to grab a handful of man-mountain, and Aoiyama is going to try to bludgeon Hokutofuji into the clay. Fun times. [Hokutofuji has prevailed in all but one of their previous 7 meetings. -lksumo]
Kotoshogiku vs Mitakeumi – I continue to be impressed with Kotoshogiku, while it looks like Mitakeumi is “holding station” for the moment, and waiting for a Sekiwake slot to open up for Nagoya. We still don’t know how serious Mitakeumi’s knee problems are, or what kind of injury state he is currently managing during competition. We do know that Kotoshogiku has most of the “tough” parts of his schedule complete now, and if he can keep racking up wins, should return to the named ranks for July. [Mitakeumi holds a 9-4 career edge against the former Ozeki. -lksumo]
Ichinojo vs Tochinoshin – Which Ichinojo will climb the dohyo on day 6? Will it be the strong, confident one that tosses people about with almost inhuman force? Tochinoshin holds a 15-5 career lead over Ichinojo, but will Tochinoshin engage the sky crane against about 505 pounds of rikishi?
Tamawashi vs Takayasu – These two used to share Sekiwake duties a few years back, and would always smack each other around once a basho. Their records show it, with a 12-11 slightly favoring Takayasu. I am going to guess we will see Takayasu’s wild, chaotic “kitchen sink” sumo as he throws everything at least once or twice against Tamawashi.
Goeido vs Chiyotairyu – I was surprised by Goeido’s day 5 loss, and I have to start wondering if the Ozeki is once again fighting hurt, and if so, how damaged he might be. A frequent problem is that right ankle, which has undergone surgery at least once. Genki Goeido has few problems with Chiyotairyu, but Goeido with ankle problems can do little more than try to pull Chiyotairyu down. [Chiyotairyu owns 6 upset wins in their 14 previous encounters. Will we see a Goeido henka? -lksumo]
Daieisho vs Kakuryu – A 2-0 career advantage for the Yokozuna, but there is that nagging question of Daieisho’s upset of Goeido on day 5. Kakuryu has also been using a lot of pulling / reverse motion sumo the past 2 days, and we have to wonder if maybe he has re-injured things as well.