Nagoya Day 15 Preview

We come to it at last, the final day of Nagoya, a basho that has been marred by injury, but filled with heroic efforts at all levels of the banzuke. Hundreds of stories of struggle played out on the dohyo. Many lost but some won, and as is always the case in sumo, almost everyone will train, recover and test their sumo again in 2 months.

A note to readers – Team Tachiai are eternally grateful that you take time to visit our site and read our posts, and that some of you take the time to comment. We truly treasure the time you share with us. This is a site run by fans, for fans. We take no ads, and expect no revenue from our effort. Most of us are professionals in other areas of endeavor, and the time we devote to Tachiai is done purely for the love of sumo, and our desire to make sumo more accessible to the world.

Because it is more or less a hobby, it can become tough to find time to contribute. Long-time readers will note that my inter-basho posting fell off a cliff shortly after the birth of my first child 2 years ago. I personally would love to put more up during the gap between tournaments, but Tachiai has to take a back seat to my job and my family. Others have noted that recent posts are not necessarily always full coverage of a day’s matches. When my professional life makes demands that shove my normal sumo-writing time out of the way, or compress the 2 hours or so I would rather spend writing up the day’s results, the blog does suffer.

But I think I speak for the entire team in saying we remain committed to our cause, and while we can’t always spend as much time on sumo as we would like, we will spend all that we can with you, dear readers.

With day 15 racing towards us now, there are some great matches on tap. In fact, the torikumi was late to be published Saturday, and it was not available until I woke Saturday AM in Texas. I chuckled to myself, noting that even with a heavily depleted roster, they managed to keep our interest to the very end. But the one match that will top all others is the final bout of the day: Both Yokozuna will face each other for the Emperor’s cup. The advantage here goes to Kakuryu, as he needs just 1 win to take home the yusho, whereas the injured Hakuho must win twice. Put an extra bottle of sake on ice—it could be a big day.

ReminderNHK World Japan will be streaming the last 90 minutes live overnight US time. Everything kicks off at 3:30 AM Eastern / 12:30 AM Pacific.

What We Are Watching Day 15

Chiyomaru vs Nishikigi – Both men come into this match with a horrible 5-9 record, with the loser walking away with 10 losses. Nishikigi tends to be able to trap Chiyomaru in his preferred arm-lock, and take away any mobility that Chiyomaru might use. 8-2 career record favors Nishikigi. Chiyomaru faces possible demotion to Juryo with a loss. -lksumo

Enho vs Daishoho – Enho has been injured this entire basho, and would have a daily allotment of tape across his upper body. But he managed to endure and get 8 wins, and will get at least some measure of safety higher up the banzuke for September. His opponent, the 6-8 Daishoho, is much higher ranked, already make-koshi, and at no risk of being sent to Juryo. So this match is just for a final score.

Shohozan vs Tochiozan – Unlike the match above, Tochiozan may be at risk of demotion back to Juryo, which he has not seen since 2007. Tochiozan has not had more than 6 wins in a basho this entire year, and it may soon be time for him to hang up the mawashi. Would a win here save him? I will leave that to lksumo’s skilled forecasting.

Kagayaki vs Okinoumi – Darwin match! Only one of them can take home a kachi-koshi from this one, the other gets a losing record. Kagayaki, specifically, has struggled this basho. His sumo has been rougher and less focused than at any time that I can remember in recent tournaments. As a master of razor-sharp execution of sumo fundamentals, I have to assume he is nursing some injury.

Terutsuyoshi vs Tomokaze – What an awesome match. Should Hakuho lose the final regulation bout, the winner will share the Jun-Yusho, and I expect both of these fresh faces to the top division to unleash hell. The big risk will be the slippery Nagoya clay, and the danger of losing traction. Though Tomokaze has a 2-1 career score against Terutsuyoshi, both rikishi are operating well outside their normal sumo envelope this tournament.

Myogiryu vs Kotoyuki – It’s remarkable to me that I will write this: I expect Kotoyuki to win this one. He has a 9-3 career record over Myogiryu, and for some reason the stars have aligned on Kotoyuki’s sumo this July, and I think he’s likely to “win out”.

Chiyotairyu vs Toyonoshima – Second Darwin match of the day, and this one tugs at my emotions. I love Chiyotairyu’s sumo when it clicks, but you have to sit in respect and awe of what Toyonoshima has accomplished. From his injury, to his recovery, to fighting his way back through the mosh-pit of Makushita, and finally back to the top division. Just to have a completely cold start and rally to be 7-7 on senshuraku. I want Toyonoshima to win, but even if Chiyotairyu bests him today, he has my respect.

Yago vs Takarafuji – Yago is damaged and not doing real Yago sumo. I suppose he can sort himself out in Juryo, and I hope that he does.

Kotoeko vs Ichinojo – First time match up, and I am sure Kotoeko will need to think through how he counters that much mass. Ichinojo already has his 8th win, so this is to determine rank for September. There is a traffic jam trying to push into the Komusubi slot(s), so Ichinojo will in all likelihood not be in San’yaku for Aki.

Shodai vs Takagenji – I am a bit down that Takagenji has had such a rough ride on his first trip to the top division, but I hope he can sharpen his sumo through these bouts. Day 15 he gets Shodai, who will spring unpredictable sumo on any opponent he gets into a real fight against. Takagenji won their only prior match.

Aoiyama vs Daieisho – I am calling it for Aoiyama unless something odd happens (slippiotoshi?), Why? Aoiyama is 7-7 and Daieisho has his 8. I am not saying Daieisho would throw the match, but it would be wise to not risk injury for the sake of making it 9. I expect Daieisho will put up a good fight, but the Man Mountain will prevail.

Endo vs Hokutofuji – I would guess this match may be to see who gets Ryuden’s Komusubi slot, and it’s a brilliant pairing. Endo is going to bring masterful planning and execution to this match. Hokutofuji will bring speed and power. I think this one may come down to balance, stance and defensive footwork on the slick Nagoya dohyo.

Asanoyama vs Sadanoumi – I am not sure I understand this pairing, other than that this is the leftovers from the Darwin and ranking matches. 6-8 Asanoyama holds a minor 5-3 career advantage over 9-5 Sadanoumi.

Meisei vs Ryuden – Perhaps we should call this the “Kassen no shitsubou” or battle of disappointments. Both are bringing in double digit losses, and both are eager to move on and try again in September.

Onosho vs Tamawashi – The Nagoya Precision Slip And Fall Squad takes to the dohyo to see who can be more off-balance, and get more clay on their face one more time, in this classic head-to-head showdown of feet moving one way, body moving another. Regroup guys, your fans love you and look forward to your rebound in September.

Abi vs Kotoshogiku – The final Darwin match of the day. If Abi can prevail, he can keep his Komusubi slot. He has to take out Kotoshogiku, fresh from a gold star win over Hakuho on day 14. If Abi can get his thrusting train running, it will be tough for Kotoshogiku to generate much offense.

Mitakeumi vs Shimanoumi – No restart of an Ozeki run for Mitakeumi, but then his sumo has not really been Ozeki class this basho. Both rikishi come in 8-6 to this first ever match-up. I would give an advantage to Mitakeumi to be certain.

Kakuryu vs Hakuho – The Boss has to be respected to come into the basho with two bad arms and tough it out for the whole 15 days. The man is a sumo machine. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk for Kakuryu, as “The Boss” holds a 41-7 career advantage over “Big K”. But Hakuho is hurt, and Kakuryu’s sumo has been excellent this July. If Kakuryu loses the first, they fight again for the yusho. Guys, blow us away with your sumo, but for the sake of everyone – DON’T GET HURT!

13 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 15 Preview

  1. Hello Team Tachia,
    I want to thank you for all the energy you put into Tachai. I’m a loyal reader and love both your adept analysis and the humor that is sometimes a part of descriptions that can be laugh-out-loud funny (such as the description of the Aoiyama/Endo fight, the naming of the tadpoles and pixies, and the descriptions of Ichinojo and his ponies. Mostly, this is the best site for insights and analysis in English that is both timely and prescient (in terms of the banzuke).

    Personally, I lived in Toyama during the era of Chiynofuji and now I cheer for Asanoyama. I’m a Toyama homer living in Minnesota … but have other favorites as well.

    Thank you for all you do. Well done during this basho and every basho.

    • I second Philip’s thoughts (including his affection for Asanoyama). Team Tachiai has greatly enriched my knowledge and appreciation of sumo. I’m NEVER disappointed about omissions; I’m just sincerely grateful for (and entertained by) everything posted here, including the comments.

  2. Echoing the appreciation here, as well as the final sentence of the post — please, no injuries if possible. This basho has been a wild one and the less damage it can do on this final day, the better.

  3. Great site and excellent content! Keep it up at your own pace. We can be patient:)

    I think Hakuho will win the first match, but he might not have it in him this basho to win the playoff.

  4. Agree with all the above. Thank u my Tachiai family – love u big time. I was living in Sapporo in 82-Takamiyama my first ever fave. This evolved into Chiyonofuji (Hokkaido shushin) and Asashio bouts that I enjoyed the best, these days I continually support my Hokkaido shushin rikishi with a lot of Oguruma and Tomozuna beyas thrown in for good measure. Thanks to Tachiai for getting me reacquainted with my sumo roots 🙏🏻♥️

  5. Echoing all the above, Tachiai is great fun to read. It’s very good sports writing, and is an excellent way to get a bit deeper into sumo beyond just watching the day’s bouts. Thanks for all your work!

    Btw, I’m totally on the Tomokaze hype train.

  6. Please accept this one’s thank you and appreciation for your work which is exemplified by its professionalism and respect for this great sport.

  7. Guys at Tachiai.org – it is in great measure thanks to you that a Sydney-sider who loves Australian Rules Footy is so passionately interested in Sumo. Your informative and entertaining daily coverage literally makes my day (and even between the tournaments) but I am sure that most readers will echo these sentiments. A big thank you for your passion, professionalism and commitment to this amazing sport.

    And yes, Tomokaze is on his way to be next Ozeki and more.

  8. I must not only echo Bruce’s love to the readers, but also the commenters love for the contributors: Bruce, Herouth, Josh, Leonid, Nicola, Liam, Thomas. Even when I lived in Japan there weren’t many other sumo fans and when I moved to DC, there were even fewer. But the internet has helped build these amazing connections, with fans around the world.

  9. Even when Tachiai’s coverage is ‘curtailed’ due to personal conflicts, it is still exceptional. Well done, and thanks!

  10. I have been following this great website for a long while now (well…not quite the very beginning, but I do remember when Andy was running it “Lone Wolf-style”…LOL!)

    And to echo the comments above, I have MAD respect for all the contributors who take time out of their very busy days to post the latest Sumo articles, videos, interactive charts, analysis, etc., etc. And we get all this for FREE?! You know: maybe you all SHOULD be PAID!

    So Tachiai.org Finest (and YOU know who you are!) — from the bottom of my HEART — Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

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