Day 4 brings us a great slate of matches, and I have to think that Takarafuji vs Endo could be the jewel of the torikumi. But Mitakeumi vs Terunofuji will bring two rikishi with spotless records together with only one advancing to 4-0. This will be a tough one for Terunofuji, as Mitakeumi will work to put as much lateral / oblique energy into this match as possible. With Terunofuji’s knees little more than bags of old chicken bones and spent reactor fuel rods, the Ozeki will struggle to with any lateral attacks.
On to the matches!
What We Are Watching Day 4
Kaisei vs Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu is certainly looking strong right now, and in this top division opener, we will see if the high-mass Chiyotairyu can best the even more massive Kaisei. There will be almost 400 kg on the dohyo to start the day, and with Kaisei moving especially slowly this basho, he will have no choice but to try to absorb Chiyotairyu’s cannon-ball tachiai. These two have a 21 match history, with Kaisei holding a 16-5 lead.
Akiseyama vs Ishiura – Ishiura is a small but potent fellow. But this first week he has had to face down some large fellows, and he’s perpetually at a disadvantage, it seems. Today he’s got 183kg Akiseyama, whose physique makes it tough for anyone, let along someone Ishiura’s size, to get any kind of hold. Both come into today 1-2, and are both in need of finding a win. It may be time to see some better evasion along with some hit-and-move sumo from Ishiura.
Akua vs Daiamami – Another battle of 1-2 rikishi. This one is much closer in size, but to my eye, Daiamami is fighting slightly better this May. I would expect him to get a first step advantage, but he may not be able to keep it.
Kotoeko vs Chiyomaru – Its a battle of 2-1 rikishi.. do we see the pattern now? In a classic big vs littler, or giant round bulbous human sack of protoplasm vs a compact, athletic guy, we will see if Chiyomaru can keep Kotoeko centered and in front of him while he slaps Kotoeko around and moves forward, belly first. Kotoeko’s job will be to take the match momentum and keep it moving to the left and to the right, never letting Chiyomaru drive forward.
Okinoumi vs Chiyoshoma – Ranked down at M12w, we suspected that Okinoumi would wreck most of his competition, and so far coming up to day 4, that seems to be holding true. But Chiyoshoma may be a different matter. Okinoumi has a perfect 3-0 record going into day 4, but I think Chiyoshoma is fighting well enough that he can give him a good fight today. These two have not matched since 2018.
Tamawashi vs Kotonowaka – Tamawashi is another long serving vet coming into day 4 with a perfect 3-0 record. My biggest hope for this match is that Tamawashi does not break out the “arm breaker” kotenage. I would rate Kotonowaka’s chances slim to very slim today.
Terutsuyoshi vs Kagayaki – What is it going to take to get Kagayaki to win a match? This guy has been on the skids since July of last year, and he has resumed his slide this May. I really like his fundamentals-focused sumo, but he seems to be lacking about 30% of his normal power. So I would expect Terutsuyoshi to out-class dear old Kagayaki today, and it’s going to make me a bit sad for him.
Tsurugisho vs Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi scored his first win on day 3, and I am hoping this means he is back in touch with “his brand” of sumo. He had potential to be a San’yaku regular, if he can gain consistency. He and Tsurugisho are nearly even with a 3-4 career recored.
Endo vs Takarafuji – Now this is a high interest match indeed! Two vets, both fighting well with matching 2-1 records. The last 4 matches they have traded wins back and forth. So I am hoping that we get a big clash of Endo’s precision sumo and Takarafuji’s defend and extend.
Hidenoumi vs Tochinoshin – Part of me really wants Tochinoshin to not have to try and piece together 8 wins by hook or by crook every 2 months. I worried about this outcome from the time he rose to Ozeki. The guy’s body is in shambles, but he’s still a high skill rikishi with a healthy fighting sprit. Though if Hidenoumi can take him down today, it will be a bit sad.
Ichinojo vs Onosho – Now this is a lovely puzzle. Onosho, as genki as he is, is not quite strong enough to go straight tadpole on the Boulder. But then again, I don’t think Ichinojo reacts well to Onosho’s frantic sumo. If Ichinojo can tangle up Onosho before he can get the big push going, it will be Onosho’s first loss of Natsu.
Kiribayama vs Hoshoryu – Kiribayama can’t buy a win right now. With 0-3 he is possibly one of the saddest cases in the top division. Ranked at M4e, he was bound to have a bit of a rough ride no matter what. But this is going to be quite something if he continues to drop matches. Hoshoryu is likewise at a career high of M5e, and may be struggling to hold his own. At least one of these guys are going to come away with a win today.
Chiyonokuni vs Daieisho – I keep hoping to see Chiyonokuni rally and start winning with strength and confidence. But after he limped away from the dohyo on day 3, I think we may see the kyujo banner for him sooner rather than later. it’s a shame too, as he has put a huge effort into bouncing back from problems with that very same knee. I think Daieisho is going to spank him today, if Chiyonokuni is not already kyujo.
Takayasu vs Wakatakakage – This is a delightful contrast match. Takayasu is back to being wild, out of control, and uniquely powerful. The last few days has shown Wakatakakage to be focused, in control and displaying a dogged determination to gain advantage at every turn. Wakatakakage holds a 3-1 career advantage, so we might see Takayasu take his first loss today.
Myogiryu vs Takanosho – Myogiryu has to be hurt. There is no way he should be 0-3 at this point, unless he has something physically limiting his sumo. Takanosho has won 2, and seems to have shaken off his ring rust. I would prefer to see Myogiryu put up a good fight, but if he’s hurt, I don’t think we are going to see it.
Shodai vs Tobizaru – To his credit, Tobizaru did manage to beat Takanosho, which is no easy mark. I think that Shodai, even with his challenges with sumo mechanics, is going to put him away today. There may be some additional “Cartoon Sumo” or “Did you see that?” elements to the match, so be paying close attention.
Meisei vs Takakeisho – Takakeisho already has his first black star, thanks to Mitakeumi. But he is fighting well enough that 8 should be no problem for him, and we might even see him contest for the cup in week 2. Meisei is a stop along that road, and I do not thing he will put up more than token opposition.
Asanoyama vs Hokutofuji – Normally I would say, “Asanoyama, can-do easy”. But Asanoyama is not quite himself right now. As the lead Ozeki, he should be dominating every match. Instead he comes into day 4 with a 1-2 record trending make-koshi. Of course his opponent is the man with the most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo. So maybe today will be two great rikishi fighting like lions, and both coming close to losing. Asanoyama holds a 9-2 career record, but I am not going to try to handicap this one.
Mitakeumi vs Terunofuji – Both are coming in with perfect 3-0 records, and one will pick up their first loss. I suspect it will be Mitakeumi, but he has a fair chance to overwhelm Terunofuji if he can get to the side or behind the Ozeki. If Terunofuji can keep Mitakeumi centered, it’s his match to win.