Welcome to act 2 of this November basho, being held this year only in Tokyo. Act 2 is where we narrow the field to find out who has what it takes to compete for the yusho, and to start sorting the survivors from the damned. This tournament is a wild one. We started with a no-kazuna situation (No Yokozuna), and are now dangerously close to Nozeki as well! Only Takakeisho survives as the top ranked man competing in November. I sincerely hope he can hold it together for the next 10 days. It does make for some interesting schedule choices. I think we will see the Sekiwake, and the kaiju saved for week 2. Until then Takakiesho will need to bide his time shoving around lower ranking Maegashira and taking their walking around money.
What We Are Watching Day 6
Chiyotairyu vs Shohozan – With Shodai out, the banzuke gap returns, and dear Shohozan visits from Juryo to take a look around his old haunts. Shohozan is suffering terribly in Juryo, with just a single win. He is facing Chiyotairyu, who has beaten him 11 times out of their 15 career matches. Oof, this could be ugly.
Shimanoumi vs Ichinojo – Shimanoumi’s performance in act 1 is white hot, as once again the last man on the banzuke seems to have some enchanted power within their sumo. He’s up against the struggling Ichinojo, who has but a single win thus far, and is not looking fierce or healthy.
Yutakayama vs Chiyoshoma – I am not optimistic about Yutakayama, who has the potential to be a major factor in the top division. But he can’t seem to keep his body in proper working order following his kyujo in September on day 8. I am pretty sure he is still fairly hurt, and I would not be surprised to see him end the tournament with 5 or fewer wins.
Kotonowaka vs Kaisei – I think Kaisei is going to dominate this match, simply because he has a great deal more mass than Kotonowaka can contend with – yet. Kaisei leads narrowly (2-1) over their short career match roster.
Sadanoumi vs Akua – Both of these rikishi are having a dreadful tournament, each having a 1-4 record coming into their first ever match. Akua has been uncharacteristically lethargic, and I think that gives Sadanoumi a distinct edge today.
Chiyonokuni vs Enho – If there was a way to stack super-genki against the anti-genki, this would be the match. Given the opposite ends of the sumo spectrum these two currently occupy, there must be some safeguards taken to make sure that they don’t form some kind of exotic matter during the tachiai, opening a portal to a parallel universe Kokugikan. I will entertain guesses which rikishi would step through this portal, and why. No fair guessing dai-Yokozuna Shodai.
Tokushoryu vs Hoshoryu – Ryu-ryu-ryu your boat.. Oh wait. No no no. So Mr Bulky is going to take on dinosaur Jr. My money is on Hoshoryu today. He has gotten spanked the last two matches and I think he is going to bounce back.
Aoiyama vs Meisei – Historically, Big Dan has a 5-1 career advantage over Meisei. If he drops today’s match, its officially a train-wreck for Aoiyama. Big Dan tends to stand Meisei up, and immediately slap him down.
Ryuden vs Terutsuyoshi – Dear Ryuden: Some guidance from the great Eddie Murph
Tochinoshin vs Kotoeko – I think this is the big test on how much fighting spirit Kotoeko can summon for a match. Tochinoshin is a fraction of his former power, but he is still an enormous, heavy fellow. I suspect that Tochinoshin has just enough left in that knee to take this one.
Myogiryu vs Tamawashi – Tamawashi holds a 9-5 advantage over Myogiryu, add to that that Myogiryu has a crummy 1-4 record thus far, an seems to be on a trajectory for a deep make-koshi.
Endo vs Kotoshoho – First time match, and I have to give the advantage to Endo who’s sumo is sharp and strong right now. He seems to have gotten his body into working shape, and his sumo skill remains as sharp as ever.
Takarafuji vs Tobizaru – Yet another glorious first time match, and this one should be an eye opener. I doubt that the bright rising start in Tobizaru has had a chance to endure the “Defend and Extend” that is Takarafuji-zumo. I want to see how long he can last before he gets tired, makes a mistake and ends up collapsed in one of the corners of the dohyo.
Onosho vs Daieisho – Onosho, I hate it when you start a tournament with a strong of “almost” losses. But it looks like he may be on course for another crummy basho like the 2-13 result in July. I heavily favor Daieisho in this match, who in spite of his 3-2 record is fighting quite well.
Terunofuji vs Kiribayama – A first time match, and my condolences are on offer to Kiribayama. I guess Terunofuji will give him a quick encounter and maybe a bit of a flying lesson. I expect Terunofuji to shred all challengers until week 2.
Wakatakakage vs Takayasu – Both have matching, sad, 1-4 records. Both had a lot of hopes on them coming into this tournament, and both are massively under-performing their potential. Surprisingly, Takayasu is 0-2 aghast Wakatakakage. Oh dear.
Mitakeumi vs Okinoumi – Its clear to me that Okinoumi is taking this tournament, and himself, quite seriously. There was an interview that was posted before the basho where Okinoumi was in disbelief of Shodai’s promotion (see, I am not the only one), and it motivated him. So I think he has an edge today over Mitakeumi, he wants this win more.
Hokutofuji vs Takanosho – Hokutofuji comes in with a 2-0 career lead, a 4-1 record, and a strong desire to get back to San’yaku. Now I think San’yaku at Hatsu is going to be a nightmare, but Hokutofuji does not strike me as one who cares much about hardship. So I think he’s got the edge today over Takanosho.
Takakeisho vs Kagayaki – Kagayaki holds a 4-2 career advantage over Takakeisho. Should he prevail today, it would turn this weekend’s first look at the leader-board into a murky swamp dominated by a powerful, glowering Mongolian.