The san’yaku wrestlers are currently performing admirably well. Except Kakuryu who went kyujo, everyone has more win than losses. I hope this trend will go on…
So, what to expect from day 4 ?
Terunofuji v Chiyoshoma. Terunofuji’s makuuchi renaissance remains spotless, and he will face a Juryo guest on day 4. He should be able to endure Chiyoshoma’s slapping attacks, and will be looking, once again, to seize his opponent’s mawashi. Chiyoshoma is 0-3 and urgently needs some wins if he wants to be promoted to makuuchi in September.
Kotoyuki v Chiyomaru. That should be a feisty battle between two pushers, as both are winless and, sitting low on the banzuke, desperately need to collect some wins. The odds are wide open, with their matchups being even (4-4). I tend to favour Kotoyuki on that one.
Takayasu v Kotoshoho. Kotoshoho’s makuuchi debut is admirable, and spotless. For his fourth battle, he’ll already face a former Ozeki. That should be an interesting test, as Takayasu is off to a good 2-1 start. The Ibaraki native will count on his experience, and perhaps play extra time before breaching the newbie’s defence. Quite an intriguing contest.
Wakatakakage v Kotonowaka. Wakatakakage started his first basho in makuuchi with a 3-0 performance, and now he gets a mirror record. Worryingly, as Herouth pointed out, he seems to suffer from his previous injury, and his bouts lack resistance. It’s Kotonowaka’s second basho in makuuchi, and the odds are clearly in his favour here.
Sadanoumi v Kotoeko. Both wrestlers convincingly won by yorikiri on day three, and both are comfortable on their opponents’ mawashi. That should be an interesting yotsu zumo contest. Sadanoumi leads the matchups by 5 to 3.
Kotoshogiku v Shohozan. Both veterans will meet for the twenty-fifth time. While Kotoshogiku is sitting deeper and deeper on the banzuke, Shohozan has stabilized himself quite comfortably in the middle of the maegashira ranks. He is yet to win this basho, but if he can avoid Giku’s gaburi sumo, he’ll definitely hold the keys to victory.
Nishikigi v Tochinoshin. Neither of them has been looking too good during the first three days; if one of them will even his record after that bout, the other one’s woes will deepen with a 1-3 record. Tochinoshin’s first opponent, Shimanoumi, did not offered great resistance during their bout, and the Georgian might as well take advantage of seeing Nishikigi far from his best, too.
Tamawashi v Shimanoumi. Tamawashi is quietly having a nice basho, being undefeated. He faces Shimanoumi, who is not looking good here. The Mongolian will be looking to add a fourth win by delivering some fierce pushes and thrusts.
Myogiryu v Ikioi. Just like Tamawashi, Myogiryu is having a quiet but strong 3-0 start, whereas Ikioi is probably disappointed to prepare his fourth bout with just one win to his credit. Both men can work on the opponent’s mawashi, as well as win by oshidashi. Let’s see which brand of sumo will prevail tomorrow.
Kaisei v Chiyotairyu. Kaisei had a somewhat unfortunate loss on day three, enduring Tamawashi’s thrusts for a long time before succumbing to a last hatakikomi attack. He will face a similar challenge with another pusher thruster, Chiyotairyu, who has a mirror 2-1 record. The Tokyo native’s first task will be to avoid seeing Kaisei grab his mawashi.
Ishiura v Tokushoryu. Both rikishi have had a slow start to this tournament, but both got off the mark on day three. Ishiura will look to come from below to drive Tokushoryu off the dohyo, but will have to be careful: if he gets too low and gets off balance, Tokushoryu will slap him to the ground.
Abi v Terutsuyoshi. Abi will face a pixie for the second day in a row. Having crushed Enho today, he will look to replicate this performance against Terutsuyoshi. This won’t be an easy matchup for the Isegahama wrestler by any means, although Abi is struggling to find his way back to the san’yaku heights.
Ryuden v Hokutofuji. An interesting contest between a pusher and a yotsu wrestler. As neither of them produced a winning record in san’yaku, their current spots look close to their comfort zone. With a 4-4 record between these two, the outlook remains wide open.
Enho v Aoiyama. The crowd favorite is not having a bright start to this basho, which promises to be another kachi-koshi struggle. He managed to overcome the impressive weight difference with Aoiyama during their only encounter, and would be ill-advised to find an efficient gameplan in order to defeat Big Dan a second time.
Takarafuji v Kagayaki. Both rikishi’s fortunes have changed on day three, as Takarafuji got off the mark, whereas Kagayaki’s fine start has surprinsingly been ended by Kiribayama. Both of them are in the joi, and need to mount some wins before facing the san’yaku regulars. Here too, Takarafuji’s yotsu zumo will face Kagayaki’s feisty thrusts.
Onosho v Okinoumi. If Onosho showed his undeniable talent last basho by defeating Hakuho, I’m puzzled to see him winless this time. He’s facing Okinoumi, who is yo-yoing between maegashira and san’yaku opponents, but has a creditable 2-1 record to start. Having just defeated Takakeisho, he is favorite to pile up misery on his younger opponent.
Shodai v Kiribayama. This is a great opportunity for Kiribayama to turn tables to his fortunes. After a difficult start, he finally got his first win against Kagayaki, and defeating a sekiwake would raise his spirits even more, for sure. Shodai is not the most solid of sekiwake, and just got kicked out by Takanosho. A Kiribayama win would remain an upset, however; but a doable one.
Yutakayama v Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi has impressed me since shonichi. His yustu zumo is strong, and he is perfectly capable of switching and delivering a finishing hatakikomi if needed. Yutakayama is full of potential, too, and has not wrestled badly, but he remains winless and I doubt he’ll get his shonichi on day 4.
Takakeisho v Endo. There’s danger here for Takakeisho. The kadoban ozeki lost his third bout by some kind of slippiotoshi, which will inevitably raise questions about his knee’s condition. Although trailing in their matchups, Endo has recently been a threat to the twenty-three-year-old.
Daieisho v Asanoyama. Daieisho’s second komusubi stint enjoys a good 2-1 debut, whereas Asanoyama’s ozeki record has remained perfect after three days. So, which rikishi will benefit most from his fine form? Asanoyama’s ozeki quest has been marred by some unnecessary losses, and, interestingly, Daieisho leads the matchups by 7 to 4.
Hakuho v Takanosho. After a scare on day 1, Hakuho is back on bulldozer mode. After having bullied Yutakayama and Endo, the yokozuna will look forward to doing the same against Takanosho. If the Chiganoura beya resident has finally got his shonichi on day 3, containing Hakuho’s fury is likely to prove a daunting task for him.