Welcome to the middle weekend of the Aki basho. It’s going to be a wild ride all the way to the end. With both Yokozuna out, and no single rikishi dominating the dohyo yet, the race for the cup is wide open. starting day 7, we have 6 competitors at 5-1, and a further 8 at 4-2! That’s a broad field of brutes looking to head home with the hardware, and frankly it’s time to stock the fridge, open a bottle of your favorite stuff, and watch some fine sumo!
What We Are Watching Day 7
Kotoyuki vs Shohozan – Well, this is a bit of a dismal start. A flagging Shohozan fights against sumo’s own penguin, Kotoyuki. I hope that Shohozan can eventually get his first win, but I don’t think its likely to be today, as Kotoyuki is actually fighting well.
Meisei vs Ichinojo – Nearly 70 kg difference between these two is the first thing that comes to mind. They have split the prior 2 matches but Ichinojo looks a bit more genki than normal, and it’s going to be tough for Meisei to move him if he gets his feet planted.
Shimanoumi vs Kaisei – If Shimanoumi can get a grab at the tachiai, he will likely take this match. There is quite a bit of Kaisei to reach around to get to mawashi-land, and if he’s mobile again today, it’s akin to stopping a wildebeest with a soup spoon.
Kotoshoho vs Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu is riding the make/kachi-koshi line, and could really use a spare win to protect him in week 2. He has fairly long odds on day 7, as he has yet to pick up a win against Kotoshoho. Much as I look forward to Hoshoryu’s future in the top division, it may be a bit early for him to stay.
Chiyotairyu vs Tobizaru – Time to narrow the leader board! A pair of 5-1 face off in a tremendous clash of styles. This lighter, fast Chiyotairyu is a real joy to watch, and he’s going to try to obliterate Tobizaru in the first 5 seconds. The task for our flying monkey – keep his feet under the cannon-ball tachiai. This is their first time match, and the winner will keep pace with the leader group.
Enho vs Kotoshogiku – Ok, who thought this was a good idea? Kotoshogiku’s kyujo cert mandates 2 weeks rest. I guess he is trying to rescue his tenure in the top division, and I understand. But maybe it’s time for the Kyusho Bulldozer to call it a day.
Kotoeko vs Wakatakakage – This has all kinds of fun written up and down the sides in highly stylized characters. Kotoeko has a 4-0 career advantage over Wakatakakage. Mitigating that is that both seem to be past the ring-rust stage, and are fighting like fanatics. So let the blows fly, plant your feet and prepare for battle!
Ryuden vs Sadanoumi – I personally think that as Ryuden’s weight went up, his sumo went down. This is far too common in the top division, where it seems the minimal mass to not get tossed like a cork on an angry ocean is above 130kg. I note that Sadanoumi comes in around 130, and has stayed quick, while Ryuden is up around 145 now, and has slowed down.
Onosho vs Kagayaki – I worry. Onosho has proven to be fairly streaky, and I don’t want his day 6 loss to kick off a losing streak he will struggle to overcome. Kagayaki will give him a genuine challenge, as Onosho tends to be “kitchen sink” in his opening move, and Kagayaki is going to keep it simple and effective. It will be a race to see who gets their hands inside in this battle of thrusting rikishi.
Takayasu vs Aoiyama – A 21 match history that is almost even. Both are big, but Aoiyama is the man-moutain, and even Takayasu struggles to defeat him once Big Dan fires up the V-Twin. It’s down to the left hand. If Takayasu can get his left hand hold, he’s going to toss Aoiyama with gusto. But he will have the narrowest of windows to make it happen.
Tokushoryu vs Takarafuji – Tokushoryu; injured? exhausted? out of ideas? I would guess he is headed for make-koshi this September, but he should be safe from a trip back to Juryo.
Hokutofuji vs Kiribayama – I would prefer that Kiribayama help Hokutofuji work towards his 6th award of the “most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo”. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for Hokutofuji to get his sumo together. But it seems he has gone rather one dimensional, and decided to be satisfied with what that can bring him. I have to wonder if his pelvis got a say in that.
Myogiryu vs Takanosho – Hey, Takanosho! Time to return to being serious about your sumo. You are on a 2 match black star run, and you need to get it together. I know you are 2-0 against Myogiryu, but you looked pretty poor days 5 & 6.
Terunofuji vs Endo – Oh yeah! We have a nicely resurgent Terunofuji up against a hit or miss Endo, who has a 4-2 career advantage over the former Ozeki. We know Endo is going to have a sterling plan in that head of his to start the match, but will Terunofuji’s left hand find its mark?
Daieisho vs Tochinoshin – Ugh, Tochinoshin is making me sad these days. Maybe he can find something to throw into this match…
Tamawashi vs Mitakeumi – These two used to be regulars in the East and West named ranks. and they have a 23 prior matches to prove it. But the 21-2 imbalance in Mitakeumi’s favor tells the story. At 2 losses, the original tadpole needs to stay focused day to day, and keep winning. Will he fade going into week 2? Hell, I expect there to be train wrecks galore in the final week. Bring on the carnage!
Shodai vs Okinoumi – Oh look, two big, strong guys who don’t rush their tachiai. I am guessing a chest to chest match with Shodai showing some unexpected forward power, and Okinoumi pulling some fantastic move at the bales. A loss by Shodai would likely knock him off the leader board.
Yutakayama vs Takakeisho – Yutakayama is no more than at 80% of his ideal fighting power. In this condition he is easy meat for Takakeisho, and short of some surprise, I see the Grand Tadpole racking up win number 6.
Asanoyama vs Terutsuyoshi – Will we see more punk attitude out of Terutsuyoshi today? Or will Asanoyama give him a first class swirly in the public loo outside the Kokugikan? “Yes, Asanoyama-zeki! Will that be the sit-down or the squat version please?”