Five men are still undefeated after the same number of days : Kotoshoho, Myogiryu, Mitakeumi, Asanoyama and Hakuho. Will a few san’yaku heads unexpectedly fall tomorrow ?
Nishikigi v Azumaryu. Both rikishi need to increase their record the different reasons: Nishikigi has not much room to avoid demotion, being ranked maegashira 16, while Azumaryu will try to enforce yet another makuuchi promotion. That should be an interesting yotsu battle, their matchups being even at 4-4.
Kotoshoho v Terunofuji. Kotoshoho’s dream makuuchi debut goes on, as he has placed his name on the leaderboard, alongside some famous names. Can he continue to deliver, this time against the former ozeki ? He has already faced the Mongolian two times, and failed to defeat him.
Takayasu v Kotoyuki. Takayasu’s win against Terunofuji was quite impressive. The former ozeki produced an efficient strategy, and surely knows how to abort Kotoyuki’s furious thrusts. Another win is on the cards here, as Kotoyuki looks far from his best.
Chiyomaru v Kotonowaka. After having succumbed to Myogiryu’s fine form, Kotonowaka will now have to make sure Chiyomaru does not regain his own. If the youngster can get a grip on Chiyomaru’s mawashi, he should be able to add a fourth win tomorrow.
Sadanoumi v Wakatakakage. After three worrying days, Wakatakakage is finally producing more energetic sumo, and has piled up a couple wins. Sadanoumi likes to fight on the mawashi, but will have to abort the pixie’s low thrusts that will aim to send him out of the dohyo.
Kotoeko v Shohozan. Kotoeko is having a good tournament at 4-1. Despite being quite light, he likes to work on the mawashi, having beaten ones like Nishikigi and Sadanoumi by yorikiri. He will try to do the same against Shohozan, whose ochi zumo is currently off target: the Fukuoka born is yet to win this basho.
Kotoshogiku v Tochinoshin. An interesting battle between two former ozeki. If their body condition is far from ideal, they are showing quite some spirit this basho. The odds tend to favour the Fukuoka born, who shows impressive displays with a 4-1 record, and has won most of their numerous previous meetings : 25 to 10.
Tamawashi v Myogiryu. Myogiryu’s form is excellent, and he may well be the surprise of the tournament. Tomorrow’s bout against Tamawashi should be a fierce struggle between two pushers. Tamawashi is back on track after yesterday’s loss, he is one off the pace and leads their matchups 8-4.
Shimanoumi v Ikioi. Ikioi is having ups and downs during this basho. He defeated Kaisei today with a nice shitatenage, and will look to profit from Shimanoumi’s poor form. He has failed to defeat him during their two previous bouts, however.
Ishiura v Kaisei. The Miyagino rikishi is having one of those ugly tournaments, which eventually drove him back to juryo in the past. Having tried – and failed – to pull a henka today, he will unfortunately have to face Kaisei’s strength. Unless he finds a way to surprise his opponent, he may well visit the dohyo limits tomorrow as well.
Enho v Chiyotairyu. Enho will look to react more rapidly at the tachi-ai than today – there was basically no contest. If he wants to succeed this time, he could for example try the ashitori weapon. He might also take advantage of the fact that Chiyotairyu never faced his tricks before.
Abi v Ryuden. The two newcomers from January 2018 will face each other for the eight time, Abi having a comfortable 5-2 lead in their matchups. After a slow start this basho, Abi found his rhythm and showed appreciable energy in his last wins. He may well add a sixth victory against Ryuden who, at 1-4, has not impressed at all so far.
Tokushoryu v Hokutofuji. Hokutofuji is having a good basho so far : he’s 4-1, having just destroyed poor Enho. Tokushoryu’s 2-3 record is not too catastrophic, but he might succumb to his energetic opponent tomorrow.
Terutsuyoshi v Aoiyama. The Isegahama man lost his last bout in quite poor fashion, and he will have to find something more efficient against Aoiyama. He might have some ideas though, having defeated the Bulgarian in each of their two last meetings.
Kagayaki v Yutakayama. Yutakayama is still winless. If the top maegashira ranks are tough, he produced, however, interesting displays during his bouts. He will look to benefit from Kagayaki’s indifferent record so far, and finally get his shonichi.
Daieisho v Takanosho. After a tough start in the joi, Takanosho is starting to get his attacks on target, having won twice during the last three days. If he hopes for an ochi battle, he will be provided fierce competition with Daieisho, the komusubi, a dangerous pusher thruster.
Shodai v Endo. The surprise defeat to Takanosho did not seem to alter Shodai’s form, as the sekiwake won twice in a row after that loss. I’m expecting him to avoid Endo’s favorite mawashi battle and push him out of the dohyo. Endo’s current form does not inspire better fortunes.
Okinoumi v Mitakeumi. Okinoumi’s solid yotsu sumo style is not the best weapon to stop Mitakeumi’s fine run. The sekiwake’s sumo is strong and varied. Okinoumi knows how to beat him, though, leading their matchups 3-2.
Takakeisho v Kiribayama. Kiribayama’s record has worsened today, but he produced a really good fight against Asanoyama. He’ll need even more, however, in order to move the imposing Takakeisho. Kiribayama will have to find a recipe against the ozeki’s strong pushes and thrusts.
Onosho v Asanoyama. The difference between Onosho’s last two fights against Hakuho is painful to observe. Asanoyama will furthermore surely stay alert, as his last opponents provided dangerous opposition. Worringly for Onosho, the ozeki has found the necessary ressources to turn tables when needed.
Hakuho v Takarafuji.Takarafuji’s no-nonsense sumo looks like the ideal victim to Hakuho’s fury. The yokozuna produced some convincing victories so far, but also had to survive a few scares, which might give hope to Takarafuji.