We’re entering the final third of this truly interesting basho! Let’s see if day 11 can bring us a few surprises…
Nishikigi v Chiyoshoma. After a difficult start, Nishikigi is starting to settle down and has piled up some wins. He’s still far from safe, though, and has succumbed many times to Chiyoshoma’s oshi zumo: the Mongolian leads the matchups 6 to 2.
Chiyomaru v Wakatakakage. His Roundness is another rikishi in great danger, but with some recent improvement on his record. He is unbeaten against Wakatakakage, whom he faced thrice. Still, the pixie is on a good run, and I tend to believe he’ll manage to break the curse against Chiyomaru this time.
Terunofuji v Tochinoshin. Now, this will be an exciting battle. Two former ozeki with serious knee issues, and with the same yotsu zumo style, are set to collide. Both men have welcomed the long sumo break to heal, and Tochinoshin is on his way to a first kachi koshi after five losing records in a row. I think the Georgian will have the edge on that battle of the fragile knees.
Shimanoumi v Shohozan. Neither men, already make koshi, are looking good this basho. If Shohozan has been caught by Terunofuji’s tachi-ai trickery today, Shimanoumi isn’t delivering at all. Perhaps Shohozan will emerge with a meagre advantage here.
Kotoyuki v Myogiryu. The bottom banzuke is rebelling ! Kotoyuki, too, has improved after a disastrous 1-6 start, and has now won three in a row. Defeating in form Myogiryu won’t be an easy task. Interestingly, Kotoyuki has an excellent record (11-3) against Myogiryu, both favoring oshi zumo.
Kotoeko v Ikioi. Kotoeko is perfoming consistently well here, having won a good bout against Meisei, today’s juryo visitor. Ikioi, on the other head, is crumbling and lost his last five bouts. I twill prove quite difficult for him to overcome Kotoeko’s ultra dynamic sumo.
Tamawashi v Kotoshoho. Both men are on the verge of getting their kachi koshi here, but fatigue seems to grow for both – they lost half of their ten combined bouts. Hence, I tend to favour Tamawashi’s experience over his young opponent.
Takayasu v Chiyotairyu. Both rikishi have a decent basho, being 5-5. If Takayasu has a considerable advantage over his opponent (eleven wins to just three losses), and won the last six bouts between them, all these wins came as Takayasu was still an ozeki. Can Chiyotairyu benefit from the precarious physical condition of his opponent ?
Ishiura v Sadanoumi.Sadanoumi seems to be a rikishi Ishiura likes to face, with eight win to the latter’s credit. If Ishiura had a slow start, there’s still hope for him to get his eight wins, as Sadanoumi is struggling, too, at 4-6.
Kaisei v Tokushoryu. Kaisei is having a so so tournament, being 4-6. If the maegashira 2 rank, righter after his surprise yusho, proved a bit too high for Tokushoryu, he settled down quite well at maegashira 7. He’s having a good 6-4 basho, and will look to overcome his negative record against Kaisei (4-9).
Terutsuyoshi v Kotoshogiku. Salt bae’s three win streak has come to an end, having succumbed to Tamawashi’s very efficient thrusts. He might feel more comfortable trying to avoid the former ozeki’s trademark gaburi sumo. He did so twice, having lost just once to Giku. He might well grab another win tomorrow, but Kotoshogiku’s form is undeniable, currently having a 7-3 record.
Ryuden v Onosho. Ryuden is having a forgettable basho so far with a 4-6 record, but will relish the opportunity to win over the sorry Onosho, who is still zenpai after ten days. It looks like the twenty four years old could wrestle for years without getting a win; I dare not predict a shonichi against his experienced opponent.
Takanosho v Enho. Enho had unfortunately entered his trademark mid yusho crisis, having lost three in a row. He will have to find solutions against Takanosho, who can still hope for a winning record at his career best maegashira 2.
Aoiyama v Yutakayama. Sadly, one could believe Yutakayama won the duel of the winless against Onosho, simply because someone had to win that one. He unfortunately returned to losing habits today. Yutakayama has produced a great amount of energy during his bouts, though, and it cannot be said he succumbed without putting up a fight. Aoiyama will however relish the opportunity to face Yutakayama, after having met three san’yaku opponents during the last days.
Endo v Kiribayama. Both men share a 4-6 record, despite not having given the same impression at all. Endo is on the rise after a miserable start, while Kiribayama continues to learn against impressive opposition. He has shown an appreciable ability to adapt his strategy depending on his opponents, and he may well come with a plan to counter Endo’s straight yotsu zumo style.
Takarafuji v Okinoumi.That should be a tactical battle on the mawashi between these two, who still have quite some work to produce in order to get a winning record. Their matchups gives Takarafuji a slender advantage – eleven victories to nine losses, which does not help us guessing who will emerge victorious.
Shodai v Hokutofuji. Having just found the dust for the second time, Shodai is probably out of the yusho race now. He can still set his sights on an ozeki run, though. He’s facing another oshi wrestler, Hokutofuji, who is yet to defeat Shodai before their sixth meeting.
Kagayaki v Asanoyama. Asanoyama finally suffered his first loss as an ozeki! Mitakeumi’s challenge, to be true, was strong, and there is no reason to doubt about the ozeki’s overall form. Furthermore, he does not know Mitakeumi’s usual mid basho crumble. I expect him to keep the yusho race running, much to Kagayaki’s expense.
Takakeisho v Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi is still on alternative mode, having lost twice in a row before rebouncing nicely with a win over the basho’s other ozeki. What he’s going to show tomorrow remains a mystery, perhaps even to himself. Takakeisho, on the other hand, has a clear strategy : get an eighth win as soon as possible, in order to erase his kadoban status.
Hakuho v Daieisho. The yokozuna will be pleased to find himself once again as the basho’s sole leader, and it’s really hard imagining him giving away the advantage so soon after having gotten it. Not that Daieisho isn’t a threat – he managed to defeat the GOAT in November of last year.