Yep! That’s how they run that score board! (Thanks to Twitter user @kodamacanada)
With Act 1 behind us, it’s on to act 2. The middle third of the banzuke is where we get our first look at the yusho race, and try to start sorting the damned from the survivors. We have an early look at that, as it seems both Yokozuna are running well, and none of the Ozekis likely have a chance to challenge. In fact, Tochinoshin looks to be on the path to returning to kadoban status, and has yet to win a single match. He’s more than capable when he’s healthy, which is not the case right now. In addition to his undercarriage problems, his have opponents have gotten very capable of shutting down his left hand outside grip, which is the key to his lift-and-shift sumo.
As a reminder to our readers, NHK World Japan will once again be broadcasting live during the middle Sunday of the basho (day 8) which will be overnight Saturday / early morning hours Sunday in the US. If you find yourself ready to stay up and watch live sumo, we have found the coverage to be a notch above what you can get from the 20 minute highlight reel that is normally shown.
What We Are Watching Day 6
Kotoyuki vs Kaisei – Kaisei is in rough shape, we know his right elbow / arm are not working properly, shutting down his yotzu-sumo form, but I suspect he may be having lower body problems, too. As a result, its doubtful that we will get to see Kotoyuki crowd surf, much to everyone’s disappointment. I am pre-sorting Kaisei into the “Doomed” category.
Yago vs Enho – Enho seems to have completely incorporated the best of “fast little guy” sumo techniques from the past and uses them with skill, power and speed. Yago has always been more focused on slow, massive power. Sadly Yago is not even close to genki right now, and is struggling for every win. Yago’s only hope is to get a hold of Enho in a way that does not blow up in his face. This is not easy to do.
Chiyomaru vs Toyonoshima – When the banzuke was published, I was quite excited to see Toyonoshima returning to the top division, but thus far he has not been able to generate much in the way of sumo. Now that we have reached act 2, and he has but a single win, I am sadly pre-sorting him into the “Doomed” category.
Terutsuyoshi vs Sadanoumi – If Terutsuyoshi continues to win more than 50% of his matches, he will face much higher ranked opponents in week 2, and frankly I am excited to see what he can do against the mid-Maegashira.
Kotoeko vs Kagayaki – The career record heavily favors Kagayaki (6-2), but both of these rikishi have not shown great sumo thus far, though I would give a slight edge to Kotoeko based on the last 2 matches.
Shohozan vs Nishikigi – Surprisingly, Shohozan has not made a point to stay mobile in many of his matches thus far. Nishikigi really only has a chance if he can latch on to Shohozan and steer him to the tawara. Will Shohozan use this fact to keep mobile?
Tochiozan vs Daishoho – Mongolian Daishoho won their only prior match up, and both are more or less winning half their matches. I would love to see Tochiozan take Daishoho by the mawashi and show some really great moves from his encyclopedic sumo lexicon, but it just seems Tochiozan is not fired up this basho.
Takagenji vs Okinoumi – Takagenji, however, is rather fired up. The taller and more experienced Okinoumi will have a few advantages, but Takagenji probably makes up for it in sheer energy output.
Chiyotairyu vs Onosho – I am sure if I had Onosho up on the rack, he would need new CV joints, CV boots, he would have a bent McPherson strut and a chronic alignment problem. Given that Chiyotairyu is going to hit him with monster truck force, I would expect Onosho will fall, and quickly too.
Kotoshogiku vs Myogiryu – Their career record stands at 11-11, which is understandable given the fact that Myogiryu dropped out of the top division and battled like a hero to return. Both of them are not quite young and genki now, but can still battle with skill and power. I would give a small edge to Kotoshogiku this time out.
Tomokaze vs Takarafuji – Not sure 1-4 Takarafuji is going to be able to do much against the run-away freight train that is Tomokaze. The Oguruma rising star needs to start getting ready to face upper Maegashira or lower San’yaku next week. I am sure they want to test him out.
Shimanoumi vs Ichinojo – I doubt anything in his sumo career has prepared Shimanoumi for what is about to happen. You may want to avert your eyes.
Meisei vs Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji now rotates into the easier part of his schedule, and I expect given how well he has been fighting, he’s picking up white stars for a while. Day 6 he’s going to batter the damaged hulk of Meisei.
Mitakeumi vs Ryuden – Please, Mitakeumi don’t go for a pull. I expect Ryuden is going to work to get a mawashi grip, but Mitakeumi’s tadpole shape will make Ryuden’s task difficult. Still given that Ryuden holds a 2-0 advantage over Mitakeumi, I expect him to dominate this match.
Asanoyama vs Tamawashi – Tamawashi is in tough tough shape, at 0-5. If Asanoyama can get a grip, Tamawashi may have nothing to offer right now.
Daieisho vs Takayasu – I see this match as the best chance for Takayasu to drop a second week 1 match. The Bridesmaid Ozeki desperately wants to remain 1 behind the Yokozuna, but he does tend to over-think his matches.
Goeido vs Shodai – Good luck, Goeido, we’re all counting on you.
Abi vs Tochinoshin – What is this match? Abi showed some surprising sumo on day 5, but on day 6 he faces the broken Ozeki Tochinoshin. Right now all the kings horses and all the kings men won’t be able to do much for injured Tochinoshin. [Tochinoshin will go kyujo, giving Abi the freebie. -lksumo]
Kakuryu vs Endo – Any time a rikishi faces Endo, it’s a risk. Endo thinks a lot about his matches, maybe too much, but he has a knack for finding and exploiting weakness. Kakuryu’s reactive sumo tends to invite his opponents to try something, and then he uses their input energy to ruin their day.
Aoiyama vs Hakuho – Aoiyama’s sumo looks as good as it ever has, and Hakuho’s sumo right now is “good enough”. He’s certainly not at full power and full battle capacity, but he’s more than capable of dispensing his week 1 opponents.