Now that the opening-day bouts have been posted, we can start to get psyched about the upcoming Nagoya basho in earnest!
- The Shin-Komusubi duo gets the customary trial-by-fire, with Ryuden facing Kakuryu and Abi matched against Hakuho.
- The bouts for the three participating Ozeki are Goeido vs. M1e Asanoyama, Takayasu vs. M1w Hokutofuji, and Tochinoshin vs. M2e Endo. Endo memorably upset Tochinoshin in May, and Asanoyama clinched his title by besting Goeido on Day 14.
- East Sekiwake Mitakeumi battles man-mountain Aoiyama (M2w), while West Sekiwake Tamawashi opens against M3e Shodai.
- A few other bouts I’m circling: M4 Ichinojo vs. M5 Kotoshogiku in what should be a good belt battle, M7 Tomokaze vs. M8 Onosho, and the M14 clash of 168 cm Enho and 169 cm Toyonoshima.
Oh, and Asanoyama’s chance to get that kinboshi from Hakuho will come on Day 2, although he may be less eager after their recent playdate.
By the way, the torikumi is balanced, with no Juryo fill-ins needed at the moment, because in addition to Ozeki Takakeisho, M11 Yoshikaze is also absent for the start of the tournament. I hadn’t seen any news about him, but Bruce points out that apparently it’s a knee injury that is likely to to see the veteran miss the entire tournament, which would mean certain relegation to Juryo for the first time in 12 years, and possible retirement.