We have a interesting race for the Emperor’s Cup, with Shodai and Daieisho both entering today with 9 wins. They have already faced each other in week 1, so we won’t get a yusho leader head to head match this week unless they are tied at the end of day 15. Both of them have matches that they are favored to win today, and I think we will carry this on into the final weekend.
Leaders – Shodai, Daieisho
Chasers – Asanoyama, Meisei
Hunt Group – Terunofuji, Takayasu, Onosho, Ichinojo, Yutakayama, Kotonowaka
4 Matches Remain
What We Are Watching Day 12
Akua vs Akiseyama – I am interested to see if now that he has firmly secured make-koshi, if Akua will continue to win. The ultimate result of this would be a 7-8 result, and would probably keep him in the top division. Meanwhile, will Akiseyama get a 6th consecutive loss today.
Sadanoumi vs Kotoeko – Sadanoumi has to win 4 of the last 5 to stay in the top division, and thats a pretty tall order when he is facing healthy, strong opponents like Kotoeko, who needs 4 of the last 5 to hit kachi-koshi, though I would guess if is safe for now.
Shimanoumi vs Yutakayama – A win today would put Yutakayama at 8 wins, and I think he should be able to hit at least 9 at this rank, if he is healthy.
Midorifuji vs Aoiyama – I want to see Midorifuji apply katasukashi to Big Dan Aoiyama, which would be glorious, and could end up giving Aoiyama a pair of black eyes. This is their first ever match, so anything goes.
Hoshoryu vs Myogiryu – Both enter the day at 6-5, and are looking for 2 more wins in the remaining 4 days. Myogiryu won their only prior bout, but Hoshoryu is on a bonafide hot streak right now, winning the last 6 in a row, so I am thinking he will have the advantage going into day 12.
Kotonowaka vs Kiribayama – Kotonowaka win is kachi-koshi for him today. Kiribayama has lost 3 in a row, so it might not be out of consideration that he will prevail today and pick up his 8th.
Terutsuyoshi vs Tobizaru – Both of these two have a tendency to put a lot of energy into their sumo. But with Terutsuyoshi’s arm injured and bandaged, he is not nearly the same threat that he should be. Given Tobizaru’s mobility and aggression this week, I would say that its his match to lose.
Kotoshoho vs Tokushoryu – Can Kotoshoho (0-11) get even a single win this basho? this is getting really sad.
Ichinojo vs Onosho – the winner gets kachi-koshi, and if Ichinojo can remain calm and patient, there is no real way for Onosho to do very much to move him. This is in spite of his tendency to load up a huge amount of force in his forward motion. Stay strong, stay still Ichinojo!
Takarafuji vs Kagayaki – Takarafuji’s defend and extend mode of sumo confounds and defuses anything Kagayaki can cook up. Takarafuji holds an 8-4 career advantage over Mr. Fundamentals, and a Kagayaki loss today would mean he would need to win all of his remaining matches to reach kachi-koshi.
Hokutofuji vs Tochinoshin – Both are 3-8 before this match. They share a 5-5 career match record, and both of them are not fighting anywhere close to their optimum this January. To my eye, it seems that Tochinoshin lacks enough knee mojo to mount any kind of credible forward pressure, and maybe not enough for there to be much mobility based oshi-sumo from him as well. I am going to guess this is going to be Hokutofuji’s match today.
Meisei vs Daieisho – Possibly the most interesting match of the day, Meisei has never won a match against Daieisho in 4 attempts. But if he manages to gamberize and overcome his tendency to eat clay in a match against Daieisho, he will hand Shodai a chance to take the lead. Both men are already kachi-koshi, so this is all about running up the score.
Takayasu vs Okinoumi – Takayasu holds a clear (15-4) advantage over Okinoumi, and I am looking for him to extend that lead today. A Takayasu win will be kachi-koshi and a chance to move up to Sekiwake for March.
Tamawashi vs Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi seems to have gotten his sumo together, and he needs to win 2 of his last 4 matches to hit kachi-koshi. He and Tamawashi have a 24 match record, with Mitakeumi leading 21-3.
Endo vs Takanosho – Endo has had a bit of a week 2 fade dropping 3 of his last 4. Can he rally? He’s up against a fairly genki Takanosho, and I think he may struggle if he can’t get Takanosho to fight him chest to chest.
Ryuden vs Shodai – Shodai holds a 5-1 career match record against Ryuden, so there is a strong chance that we will see him at least keep pace with Daieisho, or take the lead should Meisei succeed in finally winning against the yusho co-leader. A Ryuden loss would be make-koshi for him. Hopefully no more cartoon sumo from Shodai today.
Asanoyama vs Terunofuji – Asanoyama has not had a single win against Terunofuji in 3 attempts. A loss today to the kaiju would effectively knock him out of the yusho race, but keep him 1 win behind Shodai and Daieisho.