Quick preview today, as time is short – but really interested in Ura vs Kagayaki, and Takayasu vs Endo!
What We Are Watching Day 4
Tsurugisho vs Ichiyamamoto – After a really terrible 4-11 result in May, I was expecting Tsurugisho to be on the fast track out of the top division to regroup and try again. Now he has a 3-0 start to Nagoya, and looks quite solid. He is moving well, he is using his bulk effectively, and its adding up to an unbeatable combination. This is his first ever match against Ichiyamamoto, so I will be looking to see if Ichiyamamoto’s Abi-zumo style can disrupt Tsurugisho’s balance.
Daiamami vs Chiyonokuni – Ever since that difficult to watch Enho – Takagenji match, I have noticed a lot more rikishi in all divisions willing to lay down the giant round-house slaps. We certainly saw them employed with good effect by Chiyonokuni on day 3, and given it is a staple of his sumo, we may see them again today against Daiamami. Daiamami best bet is to get to the side of Chiyonokuni, and away from the brunt of his thrusting attack.
Tokushoryu vs Chiyonoo – Thankfully Tokushoryu lost his day 3 match, and I doubt I will be required to once again eat both my own buttocks should he claim the yusho. I give him a solid advantage on day 4 against Chiyonoo, as Tokushoryu is moving very well right now, and his sumo seems to be fluid and natural this basho.
Chiyomaru vs Ishiura – I have no idea what malfunction is plaguing Ishiura, but he is looking terrible. His sumo is without focus, and seems to be a daily improv based on what he had for lunch. He has a 9-9 career record against Chiyomaru, but my guess is the round mound or resound will be able to slap Ishiura down at the tachiai.
Ura vs Kagayaki – This match has potential. They both come in with 2-1 records, and it is a good clash of styles. Kagayaki with powerful single arm thrusting style, and Ura with his traditional grab and tug sumo. These two last fought in 2017, so a 4 year gap.
Kaisei vs Tochinoshin – I am quite worried this is the sunset run for dear Tochinoshin. He does not seem to have any power on his left, nor stability from his lower body. He and Kaisei have a 9-13 career record, but I think this match may be all Kaisei.
Tamawashi vs Kotonowaka – I am not surprised that a Maegashira 10 Tamawashi can start a basho 3-0, but Kotonowaka also at 3-0 is a welcome change. He has had a string of bad performance since the first of the year, and he seems to have his sumo in order this July. The winner will advance to 4-0.
Hidenoumi vs Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi is in a bit of a slump to start Nagoya, and I would love to see him unleash a hearty “throw from below” like we have not seen for a few tournaments. Maybe a uwatedashinage or sukuinage to put some vigor back in his sumo. He has a slight 7-5 career lead over Hidenoumi who also comes into day 4 at 1-2.
Shimanoumi vs Aoiyama – Andy put it well, “Aoiyama can’t get the V-Twin out of 2nd gear”. It’s possible that time and cumulative injury are finally wearing Big Dan down, but I sincerely hope he’s got a bit more sumo left to share. Both are 1-2, and need a win to stay even.
Myogiryu vs Takarafuji – Yet another group in the 1-2 crowd, and this one features two rikishi suffering a cold start in the heat of Nagoya. Both of them see to be just a few points low on the intensity gauge, and I wonder if its injuries, the humidity or bad luck. They have 20 career matches, with Myogiryu holding a 13-7 advantage.
Chiyoshoma vs Kiribayama – Chiyoshoma took his first loss on day 3, but still looks to be in solid form. I don’t expect him to start any kind of losing streak, and I maintain my hopes he will have a solid kachi-koshi on day 15. Both rikishi are 2-1 to start the day, and share a 2-1 career advantage with Chiyoshoma having the 1 match advantage.
Okinoumi vs Onosho – Okinoumi has been showing his patience and experience in ample amount thus far in Nagoya, and he is wise to rack up as many wins as he can before he has to rotate through the named ranks. His approach of pacifying and constraining his opponent seems to be effecting against Onosho, who depends on using the whole dohyo to mount his attacks.
Hoshoryu vs Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu has reverted back to his cannon-ball tachiai form. Which I think just about everyone has figured out, and really is not working so well. With luck Hoshoryu will know how to let him defeat himself, as we know Chiyotairyu is likely to do.
Hokutofuji vs Kotoeko – I think Hokutofuji is in winning form this July, and I expect he will actually pick up kachi-koshi in Nagoya, which will be most welcome. He has a spotless 3-0 record over Kotoeko, whom he tends to grab and toss about like a cork in a storm.
Ichinojo vs Meisei – Meisei could use this win, and I think he is likely to pick it up today. I almost wonder if Ichinojo is distracted by what happened to Takakeisho on day 2, as he looked a couple of notches lower in intensity on day 3.
Takayasu vs Endo – These two have a 19 match career record, and it favors Takayasu 11-8. I think if Endo can get together a frontal grip at the tachiai, he may be in business, especially if Takayasu starts dancing around like a madman.
Tobizaru vs Mitakeumi – I am still hoping that Tobizaru can figure his sumo out, and become a credible “Shin Yoshikaze” rikishi. But with each match that goes by without him doing much for effective offense, these hopes fade. I am looking for Mitakeumi to overwhelm, overpower and then toss Tobizaru out for a run through the crowd.
Shodai vs Wakatakakage – Perhaps now that Shodai took his first loss, he can settle down and just work on his cartoon sumo. Wakatakakage has shown himself to be at least somewhat resistant to Shodai’s odd and random moves, holding a 2-1 career advantage over the Ozeki, both wins by yorikiri.
Terunofuji vs Daieisho – Hapless Daieisho at 0-3 against a really genki Terunofuji at 3-0? This is going to hurt.
Hakuho vs Takanosho – Takanosho should savor his time with the dai-Yokozuna, as the chances to face him are few. I expect he will end the day with a face full of clay.