Aki Day 8 Preview

Welcome to Nakabi! It’s the middle day of the Aki 2021 basho, and the yusho race already strongly favors Terunofuji. It’s possible someone might get an unexpected win against him. But from a sumo score perspective, an 8th win today will give him his kachi-koshi.

From here, we may see the schedulers to once again try to run a “funnel” as we saw in Nagoya. Scheduling middling score rikishi against each other to keep everyone as bunched up as they can around the make/kachi koshi line until the final weekend. Once again, we have a big block of rikishi with either 3 or 4 wins on day 8. 21 to be honest, so about half of the top division. The ultimate goal will be a roster of Darwin matches to end the basho, where two 7-7 rikishi fight on day 15. The winner is promoted, and the loser demoted.

What We Are Watching Day 8

Kaisei vs Chiyomaru – A battle of the super-heavies, there will be around 400 kg of rikishi on the dohyo together. Thats about as much as an average horse. Who will win? Hey, it’s down to belt vs oshi for these two. I am going to guess Chiyomaru opens strong, and it’s hit or miss of Kaisei can grab Chiyomaru’s belt and take control.

Kagayaki vs Tokushoryu – Kagayaki is only ranked Maegashira 13, he is 4-3 which is right on the make / kachi koshi line. But I would guess that he would be doing better ranked this low. He’s got a 3-6 career deficit against 2-5 Tokushoryu, who is looking likely to find himself on the dreaded Juryo barge.

Yutakayama vs Tsurugisho – I am still trying to figure out Tsurugisho’s day 7 loss to Ichiyamamoto. Everything seems to indicate that would have been much harder for Ichiyamamoto. Then we come to Tsurugisho’s day 8 match against Yutakayama, who is not really blowing the doors off of his opponents this basho. He holds a 5-2 career advantage, so maybe a good edge for him in this contest.

Ichiyamamoto vs Tochinoshin – Its the battle of wounded knee! Seriously, at least Tochinoshin has a brace supporting his. It will come down to Tochinoshin getting a grip, if he can, he may win. If not, he’s going to be tossed out at some point. They are both 2-5, and in poor form right now.

Chiyonokuni vs Kotoeko – Chiyonokuni lost a barn burner against Endo on day 7, and I expect him to take out his ample frustration on Kotoeko, who continues his crummy results that were integral to his 2-13 score in Nagoya. He fights vigorously, but just seems to be about 20% down in intensity.

Chiyonoo vs Myogiryu – Myogiryu is the sole chaser on day 8, at 6-1, just one win behind Yokozuna Terunofuji. A veteran, I expect he has the experience to stay focused on his daily matches for at least few more days, and I expect him to dispatch 3-4 Chiyonoo without too much drama.

Okinoumi vs Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu has won the last 4 out of 5 in their 16 match career record. At 5-2, Okinoumi is doing pretty well this basho, and he is typically a solid performer at this rank. In spite of recent scores, I favor Okinoumi to carry today’s match.

Shimanoumi vs Endo – Endo holds a 4-0 career advantage, and I am going to guess he dominates Shimanoumi today.

Aoiyama vs Terutsuyoshi – A classic big vs little man sumo match up, that folks seem to love. Aoiyama struggles to beat Terutsuyoshi, and the smaller Terutsuyoshi holds a 5-2 career advantage over Big Dan. Both come into day 8 with 3-4 records.

Ura vs Tobizaru – Both of sumo’s stunt men on the dohyo at the same time, and this could turn into a neat contest. Tobizaru took their only prior match, and Ura really needs a win to keep hopes of kachi-koshi alive.

Hidenoumi vs Onosho – Onosho is fighting well enough this September that he should be able to defeat Hidenoumi handily today. Hidenoumi holds a 6-4 career advantage, but is not looking at all genki right now.

Wakatakakage vs Takarafuji – It surprises me to learn that Takarafuji has not won a prior match against Wakatakakage, coming in at 0-2 against the lead Onami brother. This may come down to the fact that Wakatakakage launches fairly unique “high/low” combo attacks. Many rikishi only attack on a single plane, while Wakatakakage puts a lot of vertical change in his sumo. I will be looking to this match to inform that idea.

Kiribayama vs Takanosho – Kiribayama took his second loss on day 7 against Daieisho, but he is still doing quite well. He s 3 wins away from kachi-koshi in the joi-jin, which would be a bid deal for him. He’s coming into today with a 1-7 losing career record against onigiri-kun Takanosho, so a win today might affirm that Kiribayam’s sumo has improved.

Takayasu vs Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma comes into day eight with a dismal 0-7 record, and a loss today would be make-koshi on day 8, grim.

Hoshoryu vs Ichinojo – Look who is back, its Hoshoryu! Did he get his tonsils treated already? Or did they just give him some aspirin and tell him to rub some dirt in it? He has a 1-6 record upon his return, and will be fighting hard for any win he can muster to cushion the fall. If Ichinojo is in a fighting mood today, it will be tough going for Hoshoryu.

Mitakeumi vs Meisei – Mitakeumi was overpowered by Ichinojo on day 7, but his challenges against Meisei will be balance and reaction time. Meisei is fast, and tends to get Mitakeumi off balance, even in matches where Meisei loses.

Shodai vs Kotonowaka – First time match, with their records being 5-2 for Shodai and 2-5 for Kotonowaka. I give a strong advantage to Shodai, who seems to have found his sumo, no matter how lethargic his tachiai, he brings a lot of power to the second step.

Daieisho vs Takakeisho – A battle between friends off the dohyo, Takakeisho needs to find 5 wins across his last 8 matches to retain his Ozeki rank, and his “hard” week is week 2, so it won’t get easier from here.

Tamawashi vs Terunofuji – Since Terunofuji’s return to the top division, he has beaten Tamawashi each time (4 matches). I don’t see any reason that won’t continue today, and I expect the long Yokozuna to execute as he has each of the prior 7 days. Kachi-koshi today with a win.

2 thoughts on “Aki Day 8 Preview

  1. While this isn’t yaocho “try to run a funnel” I’d be interested in others thoughts around this manufacturing practice. What is the intent, to keep fans engaged, to ensure day 15 attention, etc? Or is it just a natural result?

    Beyond that, Bruce and guys, I think this would make an interesting podcast discussion and would ask that you consider taking it up for discussion in the near future.

  2. Why would this be match fixing? It’s the schedulers setting this up, not the rikishi.

    I think it’s done to keep interest all the way through the basho — entertainment being kind of the point of the exercise — especially with Terunofuji seemingly running away with it?

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