Day 1 was a solid slice of sumo to start the November tournament, and it seems the schedulers are going to keep things rolling into day 2. I am starting to think that with the Yokozuna out, we may see a repeat of September’s multi-way battle for the cup, and that is a good thing for sumo and sumo’s global fans. The highlight match is, once again, the final match of the day. Asanoyama is up against former Ozeki Terunofuji, whom he is 0-2 against. If Asanoyama is to ever make a bid to become Yokozuna, he will need to find a way to defeat any rikishi he faces. If day 1 is any indication, Terunofuji is in close to his Ozeki form from years ago. This should be a great test of Terunofuji’s recovery, and Asanoyama’s resolve.
What We Are Watching Day 2
Chiyoshoma vs Akiseyama – Akiseyama comes to the top division to fill the banzuke gap. He has never won a match against Chiyoshoma, whose speed and maneuverability makes him a tough opponent for a lumbering wide-body like Akiseyama.
Chiyotairyu vs Shimanoumi – Chiyotairyu lost his day 1 match against Kotonowaka, but he looked solid, and I really liked that he went for a slower tachiai. Its going to come down to the first 7 seconds – Chiyotairyu will try get Shimanoumi off balance or moving backward with an opening blast, Shimanoumi will need to focus on keeping his feet until Chiyotairyu exhausts his opening attack. Shimanoumi holds a 4-2 career advantage.
Chiyonokuni vs Akua – Much to my surprise, these two have only fought one before, in September, as both were working toward a Juryo promotion. That match went to Chiyonokuni with a slap down. Chiyonokuni had a great day 1 opener against Ichinojo, and I think he will hold an edge today gainst Akua.
Kotonowaka vs Ichinojo – By the numbers, Ichinojo should completely overpower and crush Kotonowaka like a discarded UCC iced coffee can. But in their only prior meeting, it was Kotonowaka who took the win. Ichinojo was moving well on day 1, so we hope that he is in fighting form for November.
Yutakayama vs Hoshoryu – I am really looking forward to this one, more so after Hoshoryu dispatched Kaisei like a pro on day 1. Yutakayama has been struggling since January, and in his day 1 opening match he looked rough and disorganized, in spite of his daily training with shin-Ozkei Shodai. This is a first time match, and it should be a good one.
Kaisei vs Enho – I think most of sumo fandom is waiting to see if Enho can pull his sumo together and return to at least a 50/50 winning record. Its clear he is struggling, and as is usually the case, there is no news about any kind of injury to be found. It may be as simple as not having the energy of the crowd during his matches, which was (prior to COVID-19) completely off the charts.
Ryuden vs Sadanoumi – These two have a nearly even 4-5 career record, and they tend to fight chest to chest. Ryuden has the size advantage, and Sadanoumi has a clear edge in speed.
Meisei vs Kotoeko – Two compact, superbly strong rikishi head to head? Yes please! Both looked really good day 1, so I am hoping for some fireworks today.
Aoiyama vs Tokushoryu – Aoiyama may try is reverse-gear pulling fest that was his day 1 attack plan, but he may find a rapid response from Tokushoryu, who tends to be able to keep his footing against Aoiyama. The 10 prior matches break down 6-4 in Big Dan’s favor.
Terutsuyoshi vs Endo – With only one prior match, there is not a deep history between these two. I am going to assume a hit and shift from Terutsuyoshi, and a left hand frontal grab attempt at the tachiai from Endo. If Endo lands that hand, he controls the match.
Takarafuji vs Tochinoshin – If Tochinoshin is able to generate any forward offense with his damaged body, we should see some in this match. Takarafuji will try to keep things moving laterally, ensuring that Tochinoshin can’t set up any form of offense.
Tamawashi vs Kotoshoho – I like this match a lot. We are going to have a somewhat diminished veteran in Tamawashi, up against the young up and coming Kotoshoho. If Tamawashi is on his sumo, he’s tough to beat as he has an optimum combo of size, strength and mobility. They have split their 2 prior matches.
Hokutofuji vs Tobizaru – This one is dripping with potential. Tobizaru’s frantic sumo can and will be matched by Hokutofuji’s brutal head / neck attacks. Tobizaru as yet to win against Hokutofuji, but the last time they fought was in 2016! Tobizaru comes into November with acres of confidence and more than enough fighting spirit to make it a true contest.
Myogiryu vs Okinoumi – 26 matches in their history, split 13-13. This will be two wily veterans going toe to toe!
Kagayaki vs Takayasu – Takayasu looked rather disorganized in his day one loss to Takakeisho. He gets to re-group against Kagayaki, who seems to have a healthy layer or ring rust.
Mitakeumi vs Daieisho – I am certain that Mitakeumi is smarting after his 8-7 record in September. It broke any real chance he may have had for an Ozeki bid, instead having to watch yet another rikishi (this time Shodai) pass him by and assume sumo’s second highest rank. If he wanted to reach 33 wind over 3 basho, he would need to finish no worse than 14-1 in November. He has his work cut out for him on day 2.
Onosho vs Takanosho – In spite of his day 1 loss, Onosho looks in good form right now. He was able to successfully overwhelm Mitakeumi at the tachiai, and moved well enough. Takanosho, on the other hand, looked completely disrupted in his day 1 loss. I expect Takanosho to be refocused and a much tougher opponent today.
Takakeisho vs Wakatakakage – A first time match, and it’s going to be Wakatakakage’s tug and move against Takakeisho’s tadpole sumo. I give a slight edge to Wakatakakage, but because he is nearly always moving, if Takakeisho can catch him with even one blast, we could see Wakatakakage go flying.
Shodai vs Kiribayama – Will we see more Shodai cartoon sumo today? It’s gotten so that I am actually looking forward to whatever he pulls out of his bag of crazy and employs to rescue the matches he is a heartbeat away from loosing.
Terunofuji vs Asanoyama – Oh yes indeed. What a great match to finish out day 2! Terunofuji has not lost to Asanoyama, but it’s a new day and Asanoyama needs to find a way to overcome the kaiju.