After throwing out his back practicing with the former Kisenosato, it seem that Takayasu has gotten himself in good enough condition to re-enter the basho. I am delighted to see him return, and I hope he can manage to wring out 8 wins over the remaining days. The doctor advised him 10 days of recuperation, but this guy seldom listens to such guidance. Back he comes.
As a result of his return and other kyujo, there is a banzuke imbalance, and we will see visitors from Juryo daily until someone else decides to withdraw from the tournament. I suspect there is a chance that we may get that on day 3, as whatever happened to Takakeisho has the hallmarks kyujo written on it. If he does withdraw from the tournament, it would likely be announced later today during the morning hours in Tokyo. Hopefully we can at least have some indication of what went wrong. There are some reports that the injury was to his lower body, and others saying that it was to his neck.
What We Are Watching Day 3
Ichiyamamoto vs Yutakayama – Up from Juryo is none other than Yutakayama, the only man from the “Freshman” cohort who is not under punishment and being disciplined out of the salaried ranks. I love that he is 2-0 to start Nagoya, and I like that he beat Ichiyamamoto in their only prior match. I am aware that he has struggled with chronic pain and lingering injury, so I am hoping he is in better condition this July and can get the 8 wins needed from J1e to return to the top division.
Chiyonokuni vs Ishiura – Two high energy, high mobility guys going head to head? Why, yes! That sounds great. It would peak my interest more if there were not a 7-0 career record that favored Chiyonokuni, so this may be a one-sided match.
Tsurugisho vs Tokushoryu – Two bulky guys in the latter part of their careers, both with 2-0 starts to Nagoya, and with nearly even (6-5) career head to head wins. If Kintamayama is doing ISP matches, this would be my choice.
Daiamami vs Chiyonoo – Daiamami has looked very rusty in July, and maybe the crippling humidity and heat of Nagoya have oxidized the fight out of his sumo. Maybe is the day he rallies and shows up some good form.
Chiyomaru vs Ura – Sumo loves a battle of contrasts, and here we go! Ura got caught off balance on day 2, and was quickly run amok for a loss. Can bulky Chiyomaru, the very acme of round, do the same today on day 3? I would rather see the man in pink roll Chiyomaru gleefully down the hanamichi with an impish smile on his face, and pick up his 2nd win.
Tochinoshin vs Kagayaki – This is a great bellwether match for dear injured Tochinoshin. He has yet to fight with any strength or power, and if he falls to Kagayaki, he may well be headed for an exit from the top division. Tochinoshin comes in with a 7-1 career advantage, and I hope he can find enough health to compete this tournament.
Kotonowaka vs Terutsuyoshi – These two have been trading wins in groups of 2, so if they hold that pattern it will be Terutsuyoshi’s match today. I think that I would really like to see another Terutsuyoshi ashitori right about now.
Kaisei vs Shimanoumi – Sometime soon, maybe even today, Kaisei will win his first match. I can only hope he can get his focus and his sumo aligned before there is no road to 8 wins left open to him. Shimanoumi is likewise fairly rusty, and I am certain he is also looking to get into fighting form soon before he is short of options.
Hidenoumi vs Tamawashi – Veteran Tamawashi is off to a solid 2-0 start, and I would guess he may be in a good “mode” at Maegashira 10 for Nagoya. He’s been gradually drifting lower since his last turn at Sekiwake in March of 2019, and may be due for a “hot” tournament where he gets 9 or 10 wins.
Takarafuji vs Aoiyama – the las strong performance from Takarafuji was in January, and he’s been looking hurt or somehow diminished ever since then. As someone who appreciates his unique approach to sumo, its tough to watch him struggle. His day 3 match against “Big Dan” Aoiyama is likely to be a painful bludgeoning of the first order, as Aoiyama holds a 21-5 career advantage over Takarafuji.
Myogiryu vs Chiyoshoma – I am starting to look forward to Chiyoshoma’s matches. He seems to be executing sumo with decent skill, and is showing a very common sense approach to his daily matches. These two have 5 prior matches (2-3), but the last one was in July of 2018. So this is going to be an interesting comparison in how both of their fighting styles have evolved.
Onosho vs Kiribayama – It is not uncommon for Onosho to start any given tournament in very rusty condition, and I would mark this Nagoya basho in that status. He even in his day 2 win, it was not directly attributable to some skillful move or inspired choice in the heat of a match. I would like to see him dial in and get pushing today against Kiribayama, who may still be smarting from his day 2 loss to Hoshoryu.
Okinoumi vs Hoshoryu – Though it is the middle of the day’s action, this is a high interest match for myself. Okinoumi is a master technician, and he has more than enough skill to shut down Hoshoryu and leave him guessing what to do next. But the bit question is will Hoshoryu be able to create and exploit some advantage before Okinoumi can get control of the match? Hoshoryu won their only prior meeting (March of this year)
Kotoeko vs Chiyotairyu – It was with great disappointment that I watched Chiyotairyu revert to his old thrashy form of sumo on day 2. Sure it scored a much needed win for him, but it was a reversal from his work this year to bring about a more refined battle system for his sumo. I think Kotoeko will be prepared for that “stand him up and knock him down” approach that front-loads the tachiai, and Chiyotairyu may find himself looking to snap back into his improved sumo.
Wakatakakage vs Tobizaru – Wakatakakage seems to be feeling the pain that normally comes with the Komusubi rank, especially your first visit. He has started 0-2, and he may struggle today with Tobizaru. Sumo’s “Flying Monkey” had a great day 1 match against Kotoeko, but was back to less than inspiring sumo yesterday.
Hokutofuji vs Mitakeumi – Another high interest match, we get surprisingly hot Hokutofuji at 2-0 testing his sumo against Mitakeumi. They have a 20 match history (Mitakeumi leads 11-9), but the two are evenly matched in many ways from height to mass. Will we get the modular sumo battle unit again today? I do hope so.
Takayasu vs Ichinojo – Welcome back Takayasu. May you take some comfort in day 2’s proceedings where the blue jacket team was fast to respond to on-dohyo injury and calamity. That’s not a forecast, but I worry that he is not quite ready to put his injured back to the test against “The Boulder”. They have an even 6-6 career record.
Meisei vs Takakeisho – I wonder if this match will happen. If not, Meisei gets a much needed first white star via fusensho. Takakeisho did not look good a all, and many learned sumo fans are wondering if there was neurological trauma that took place in the opening moments of the bought day 2 against Ichinojo.
Terunofuji vs Takanosho – Terunofuji, in spite of his mechanical knee supports and acres of bandages, seems once again to be executing high Ozeki / mid-Yokozuna grade sumo, at least at the start of this basho. I will be looking for win number 3 from the kaiju today, and Takanosho may need to work toward a solid week 2 to keep himself out of make-koshi for July.
Shodai vs Endo – Shodai looks to be back to somewhat better form in Nagoya than what he had during Natsu. With Endo starting 0-2, we may see him rally today and surprise Shodai with a win today.
Hakuho vs Daieisho – I am curious to see if Hakuho will attempt to defeat Daieisho with his opponents preferred form of sumo. He has done such things in the past, as a way to further dominate the match, proving to his opponent that he has studied their sumo, and can in fact do it better than they can. If so, we may see a “mega-thrust” attack from the boss. I think Hakuho is not quite using full power yet, as he is testing out his body in competition conditions, working his way up to the middle weekend when I expect him to either be injured and out, or at full power going into the second week.