Work has got me in a pinch, so just a few really hot matches for day 5, the end of act 1. Act 1 is all about figuring out who is hot and who is not. In this Aki basho, I am flabbergasted to say that the favorite to contend, Asanoyama, comes into day 5 with a single win. Yikes! This means he is doing slightly better than both Yokozuna, who were kyujo from day 1. In the “cold” bucket, we find Enho and Shohozan still looking for their first win. Both have their fans, but you can be certain both are struggling right now.
In the hotter part of the torikumi, we have Tobizaru and Onosho. Two rikishi I favor quite a bit, and I am happy both are having a decent start. They are followed by a wide group of 11 rikishi who have 3 wins going into day 5, spanning from Ozeki 1 West Takakeisho all the way to the rump end of the banzuke, yet again, with M17 East Ichinojo. I went to the local Japanese market, and sadly they were mostly depleted of sake. I guess all of the sumo fans in Dallas are, like me, stocking for the end times should Ichinojo take the cup.
UPDATE: Kyokutaisei is kyujo from day 5 with a left Achilles injury, and is unlikely to return. The poor star of “A Normal Life” can’t buy a break: his first trip to the top division after a decade of toiling in the lower ranks ended after 3 basho with an injury that sent him back to Juryo for 10 tournaments; his second looks like it’s over after only 4 bouts. -lksumo
Nishikigi vs Hoshoryu – Hey, it’s Nishikigi! If he can get his 8 in September, he gets to come back to the top division. Nishikigi yusho in November anyone? Anyhow, a first meeting with Hoshoryu.
Ichinojo vs Kaisei – It’s possible that we will suffer ripples in space-time from this tachiai. LIGO is on notice. (Gravitational waves are emitted when two massive bodies circle each other a great speed just before they merge.) Ichinojo has dominated this matchup to the tune of 9-3. -lksumo
Tobizaru vs Kotoeko – Really curious if Tobizaru will pick up his first loss before the end of act 1. Kotoeko at 1-3 does not have a huge chance of doing it. But hey, probably has to happen some time.
Onosho vs Aoiyama – First you might ask, what fresh hell is this? But these two have fought 9 times before, with Aoiyama taking 5 of them. With his 4-0 record, Onosho might be fired up to show Big Dan the fast route to the shitakubeya.
Ryuden vs Enho – Some day, maybe even this month, Enho is going to win one. Keep watching. It WILL happen!
Takayasu vs Tochinoshin – Battle of the battered former Ozeki. If Tochinoshin has re-damaged that bandaged right knee, this may be a fast match in favor of Takayasu.
Yutakayama vs Takanosho – Normally this would be a big interest match, but I am not hopeful for Yutakayama’s chances today. Whatever is plaguing him could be holding him back all tournament.
Shodai vs Hokutofuji – I am expecting a strong Shodai win over Hokutofuji’s upper body. The question is what it will take for his pelvis and legs to succumb to defeat. Note, this final resolution could come several seconds later.
Daieisho vs Terunofuji – I admit a sick fascination with watching Terunofuji power up to his old levels of sumo. I just hope the knees hold out.
Terutsuyoshi vs Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi, get it together man!
Myogiryu vs Takakeisho – Takakeisho holds a 9-0 advantage. May we please see some wave-action today?
Asanoyama vs Tamawashi – Part of me does not want to watch this one, as the “Asanoyama chokes” story was a worry the day the banzuke was published. But I expect that if Tamawashi can stay aggressive and stay mobile, it could be another embarrassment for Asanoyama.