Some abbreviated previews for day 5, the last day of the first act of Aki. Work life has given a hearty yorikiri to sumo writing for the day, but there is still time to put a few thoughts down for use to discuss.
Maybe I have become kind of numb to it all, but we seem to still be facing a lot of damaged rikishi each and every basho, With Ichinojo pulling out, we have a number of kanban rikishi layed up, out of action and looking at medical care. Some fans are rightfully disappointed in this ever shifting roster of the walking wounded. I think it both hurts the sport by making each basho a contest of the least damaged, and helps the sport by clearing the dohyo of some dominant men for each tournament. As a result we have had a spate of first time yusho winners, and even headed into day 5, it’s anyones guess who is going to be in the yusho race for the middle weekend.
What We Are Watching Day 5
Ishiura vs Takagenji – It’s looking more likely that the last man in Makuuchi, Takagenji, is going to be too disrupted to maintain his berth in the top division. Who can blame him? His twin brother is about to get tossed out of sumo, his Oyakata pulled a runner, and his sumo is as limp as a moldy daikon. I am sure if he gets dropped to Juryo, he will be back.
Tochiozan vs Toyonoshima – The old timers fight it out! Have the ben-gay and the hot bath at the ready, these two die-hard competitors are going to need it. They have 26 prior matches against each other. That’s history.
Tsurugisho vs Azumaryu – Azumaryu has been a routine and easy mark for Azumaryu, who routinely seems to lose his lunch money during their matches (10-3).
Kagayaki vs Yutakayama – This could be a battle royale. I know Kagayaki always brings a ponderous load or ring rust to the start of any basho, but he should be nearly done breaking loose. Yutakayama is gunning to get back into the thick of Makuuchi. I am looking for sparks to fly.
Shohozan vs Nishikigi – Shohozan looked fantastic against compact dynamo Enho on day 4. It’s easy to be fooled by Nishikigi, because he at times seems rather low-energy. Mostly because he keeps his movement on the dohyo to a minimum unless he has a hold of his opponent. So I am looking for traditional Shohozan mobile attack strategy today.
Daishoho vs Enho – Winless Daishoho has the poor fortune of being today’s opponent for Enho, who seems to be (as his shikona would imply), on fire.
Terutsuyoshi vs Onosho – A pair of 1-3 record riskihi in a battle to see which one is less genki. As an Onosho fan, this match makes me sad. Terutsuyoshi, meanwhile, is suffering the curse of the NSK Grand Sumo Preview interview.
Meisei vs Takarafuji – Meisei should not have much trouble here
Okinoumi vs Kotoyuki – Oddly enough, I think Kotoyuki may take this one from undefeated Okinoumi. I just get this sense from Kotoyuki that he’s taking his sumo and himself much more seriously these days.
Sadanoumi vs Kotoeko – Another 1-3 pairing. Both of these rikishi need to rally.
Kotoshogiku vs Ryuden – I favor Ryuden in this match, as he has been looking solid during his yotsu matches. I am sure Kotoshogiku will try to set up the hug-n-chug, but if Ryuden can keep him turned away from squaring his hips, he should be able to prevent the Kyushu Bulldozer from shoving him out.
Chiyotairyu vs Shimanoumi – Ok, today must be the day of depressing 1-3 match ups. Another one.
Myogiryu vs Shodai – Ugh… Shodai…
Ichinojo vs Tamawashi – Freebie win for “arm breaker” Tamawashi. I honestly feared this match would be a “go” and Tamawashi would apply some poorly positioned kotenage and really damage Ichinojo.
Aoiyama vs Endo – Big Dan is not fighitng well. No wins so far, while Endo has not looked this good at this rank. Well… Ever. MOAR INTERVIEW ROOM TIME FOR ENDO!
Hokutofuji vs Takakeisho – We saw the first glimpse of the “wave action” attack on day 4, but just for a moment. If Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai finds its mark, we may see Takakeisho bring it out in all of its glory.
Mitakeumi vs Abi – Abi’s going to have his hands full, as Mitakeumi seems to enjoy scrambling Abi-zumo into a meaningless tangle of lanky limbs.
Tochinoshin vs Tomokaze – Tochinoshin’s big hope is that Tomokaze brings the same weak-sauce sumo he has been serving up nearly every match so far this basho. I would guess he must be hurt, because the powerful forward sumo Tomokaze used thus far is not to be seen.
Daieisho vs Goeido – Daieisho has this knack for beating Goeido! Let’s see if he can make it 4 in a row.
Kakuryu vs Asanoyama – I love me some Asanoyama, but Big K seems to be dialed in right now.