As we announced last weekend, the 44th Annual Grand Sumo Tournament is being held this Sunday, covered on Fuji TV. The Makuuchi and Juryo brackets have been released. Pride + $100,000 purse is on the line!
Since this is not a honbasho, there are unique rules in place for this event. It is a single day tournament with a knock-out structure. Also, there is no prohibition against stablemates fighting. That quirk is of particular interest this go round because if Enho and Hakuho win their first bouts, they will face each other. Giddy Up!
Aside from the bouts, you can sample chanko and there are several events that will make for an entertaining afternoon. They’ve lined up a shokkiri routine and a few exhibition bouts between retired wrestlers, including former Aminishiki, Kotooshu, and Kyokutenho.
The tournament uses the Hatsubasho banzuke for its seeding, so wrestlers who were in makuuchi will participate in the makuuchi bracket, regardless of their performance in January. Yusho winner Tokushoryu will face Ikioi in the first round. The winner of that bout will face Takarafuji in the second round. For the Enho/Hakuho bout to happen, Hakuho will have to beat Meisei, who had a terrible January, going kyujo for the last week after a 1-6 start. Enho will have beat the winner of the Kotoeko/Sadanoumi bout.
For those unfamiliar with the kanji, I’ve paired the shikona with the numbers used in the brackets.
On the Juryo side of the house, the two kyujo wrestlers are Tomokaze and Irodori, meaning there are only two “play-in” bouts for the first round. Terunofuji is in one of those play-in bouts against Sakigake who will be heading back to Makushita in Osaka. Ichinojo is participating and may face Terunofuji in the third round.
Take a look at the brackets and see if there are any bouts (or possible bouts) you’d like to see. Endo against Daishoho will be cool but isn’t likely as they’d have to make the finals. A third round Shohozan/Myogiryu bout could be very entertaining. I would like to see Ichinojo against Terunofuji but I’m not entirely confident Ichinojo will escape his first bout against Wakatakakage, despite winning during the Hatsubasho.