Just a quick preview today, as I am headed to the airport to travel back to Texas today. It’s been a nice weekend with family in the Bay Area, but it’s time to get back home. An impressive 11 rikishi come into day 3 still looking for their first win. Maybe the empty arena is proving very distracting to a quarter of the top division rikishi. I know I have still not gotten used to it.
What We Are Watching Day 3
Meisei vs Daiamami – Daiamami will be looking for his first win of Haru, and his 4-2 career record may be an indication that he stands a fighting chance.
Kotonowaka vs Shimanoumi – This first time meeting features newcomer Kotonowaka against 2-0 Shimanoumi. Kotonowaka was completely shut down in his day 2 match against Meisei, and hopefully he can do better today.
Tsurugisho vs Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru has opened haru 2-0, but he has a 2-7 record against Tsurugisho. Granted Tsurugisho looks a bit hurt, and seems to be held together with a vast amount of tape.
Azumaryu vs Nishikigi – Nishikigi really needs to find his first win, but so far he has been unable to use any of his favorite techniques, including the double outside grip. His opponents have been disrupting his sumo straight out of the tachiai, and we hope he can get back to winning form.
Kotoshogiku vs Aoiyama – I tend to think that Kotoshogiku’s 15-9 career advantage may not indicate much, as it seems his performance is governed by how banged up his knees are on any given day. Thus far we have seen him apply power only in very short bursts. So Big Dan will work to stay mobile, and keep Kotoshogiku at distance.
Kaisei vs Ikioi – Kaisei has yet to find his first white star, but given that he tends to dominate Ikioi, day 3 may be his day. Ikioi still fights with gusto, but its obvious that he is part of the “injured veteran” cadre.
Chiyotairyu vs Terutsuyoshi – We have not really seen the full extent of Terutsuyoshi’s high agility sumo yet this march. With Chiyotairyu not built for lateral motion, this is a fine chance for Terutsuyoshi to find his second win.
Ishiura vs Tochiozan – Somebody jump-start Tochiozan please. The guy is probably nursing injuries and suffering some ring-rust, but we hold out hope he can find his sumo soon.
Takanosho vs Sadanoumi – Takanosho will work to keep Sadanoumi off balance and reacting to his thrusting attack, and I am looking for Sadanoumi to go for a slap down / pull down early.
Tochinoshin vs Kiribayama – Tochinoshin has nothing left in that knee, so this first time match is really down to Kiribayama being sharp and decisive at the tachiai.
Takarafuji vs Shohozan – Shohozan has yet to find his first win in Osaka, and he will be battling Takarafuji, who is nursing a bad back. Takarafuji will try to blunt Shohozan’s pugilistic style, waiting for an opening, but the career record (11-6) favors Shohozan.
Tamawashi vs Kagayaki – This match has a lot of potential, as Tamawashi’s attack will focus on keeping Kagayaki centered in front of him. Kagayaki’s sumo will be happy to oblige, so we are going to see these two battle it out face to face. Fundamentals vs power.
Ryuden vs Myogiryu – Another surprise in the winless column is Myogiryu. His smaller frame and higher speed tend to give him an agility advantage over Ryuden (3-1), so maybe day 3 is his shonichi.
Onosho vs Abi – Am I pumped for this? Why yes I am. I am not sure what is hampering Abi-zumo at the start of Haru, but I hope he can overcome it. Meanwhile Onosho has a chance to open hot at 3-0. Their career record is 4-4, and I am going to guess that Onosho is going to try for another win by oshidashi.
Yutakayama vs Enho – Yutakayama has won their prior 2 encounters, and I am looking for for him to bounce back from his day 2 loss. For both Yutakayama and Onosho, this basho is all about cementing their positions in the joi-jin for 2020.
Hokutofuji vs Tokushoryu – Much as I love the whole Tokushoryu story arc, he’s really getting dominated up at the top of the banzuke at the moment. Hokutofuji comes in fresh from his win over Yokozuna Kakuryu on day 2, so I am assuming he has a lot of confidence. This is their first ever match.
Mitakeumi vs Shodai – Oh, a match of great interest indeed. Shodai has picked up where he left off at Hatsu, showing some frighteningly good sumo. I now think of it as Kakuryu with fewer injuries, and it really works for me. Mitakeumi seems to have come into Osaka in very good form, and he is using his massive body well. Career record of 9-10 means its a flat out test match.
Asanoyama vs Daieisho – Asanoyama’s push for double digits gets a big test against Daieisho, against whom he has a 7-3 career deficit. Daieisho has yet to score is first win, and I think may be a bit off of his sumo for any number of reasons, including the spooky atmosphere in the Edion arena.
Takakeisho vs Endo – Takakeisho needs a bounce back win today, but in spite of his 4-2 career advantage over Endo, he may struggle. Yesterday’s loss to Okinoumi really looked sloppy and terrible, and I am sure he is quite displeased with his performance. Endo is a master technician, and I am looking for him to immediately shut down any Takakeisho oshi-attacks, keeping the Ozeki reacting to his sumo.
Okinoumi vs Kakuryu – Kakuryu also needs a bounce back win, after getting in trouble early in his day 2 match with Hokutofuji. Okinoumi can muster some fantastic sumo in his first week of any tournament, so I am expecting Kakuryu to play it conservatively and employ a “defend and extend” strategy.
Hakuho vs Takayasu – I continue to worry about the Yokozuna’s foot, as he has face recurring problems with it since last year. Takayasu is not fighting well yet, and we have to wonder what can be done to bring him back to full potency. The Boss holds a 19-2 career record against the former Ozeki, and that may go higher today.