With the start of act 3, we focus on the yusho race, and the process of starting the make from the kachi koshi. On that subject, a surprising number of rikishi enter day 11 with 4-6 records, and only 3 with even 5-5 records. Looking at the banzuke, it seems that the majority of the top division is on solid footing for a make-koshi this September, and that means a big shuffle for November.
On the subject of the yusho race, neither of the chasers have any real history of presenting any serious challenge to Terunofuji. Myogiryu is 4-12 against the Kaiju, but Onosho is a surprising 4-2. I am going to guess we may see that match up some time in the next 3 days, as it would be definitive a Terunofuji win.
A blowout on day 10 in the hunt group did a lot to narrow the field, just 2 rikishi remain 1 win behind the Yokozuna.
Hunt Group: Onosho, Myogiryu
Chasers: Shodai, Mitakeumi, Kiribayama, Okinoumi, Endo, Chiyonokuni
5 matches remain
What We Are Watching Day 11
Chiyomaru vs Wakamotoharu – With Kotonowaka kyujo, the torikumi imbalance returns, so Juryo rikishi are once again visiting the top division. This time its another Onami brother, Wakamotoharu. Ranked Juryo 3E, he is at a promotable rank, but he comes to today’s match with a 4-6 record, and is likely headed for make-koshi. He has never won against Chiyomaru in 3 attempts.
Tokushoryu vs Tochinoshin – This match interests me, as I suspect it may have something to do with the banzuke group starting to wonder who they are going to demote, and how far down the banzuke they will go. There should be at least two promotable records, and maybe as many as six this time. I am starting to wonder if there will be a big Juryo – Makuuchi swap coming up for November.
Endo vs Kaisei – Endo tries again for his kachi-koshi, and I would be very surprised if he does not get his 8th win today. He tends to dominate Kaisei, in spite of Kaisei’s enormous size.
Ichiyamamoto vs Myogiryu – To me it seems clear that the schedulers want to close out Ichiyamamoto’s make-koshi, and keep Myogiryu in the yusho race. So be it. This is their first ever match, but with Ichiyamamoto hurt, I don’t think his chances are too great today.
Chiyotairyu vs Tsurugisho – Chiyotairyu seems to be locked into using “his brand of sumo” going into the final five days of Aki. He’s form is good, his balance sound and his timing is sharp. I see him blasting Tsurugisho today to take a step closer to kachi-koshi.
Kagayaki vs Hidenoumi – Kagayaki is one of the lonely 3 rikishi with 5-5 records, and he is struggling at a surprisingly low rank of Maegashira 13. Should he fail to hit 8 wins this September, it would be his 6th straight make-koshi. The last time Kagayaki was ranked this low, he turned in a 10-5 result in November of 2019.
Aoiyama vs Chiyonoo – Both of them come into today with middling records, and have struggled to do much power sumo this tournament. Given the possible “big swap” for November, Chiyonoo needs to be concerned about a make-koshi at Maegashira 15. I expect him to be highly motivated today.
Chiyonokuni vs Tobizaru – This match could be a real treat. Both of them will bring high mobility thrusting sumo to the dohyo, and while I expect Chiyonokuni to dominate and get his kachi-koshi today, I am looking to Tobizaru to make him work hard for that win.
Okinoumi vs Yutakayama – Okinoumi has not lost to Yutakayama in any of the previous 4 matches. I don’t see him changing that today. A Okinoumi win would be kachi-koshi for him at Maegashira 8.
Shimanoumi vs Kotoeko – Kotoeko has won the last 2, and I am hoping he might make it 3 in a row today. He has a 10-2 career lead over Shimanoumi, who has also been struggling this September. They come to the dohyo with matching 4-6 records.
Chiyoshoma vs Terutsuyoshi – It would be nice to see Chiyoshoma have at least 3 wins to finish Aki, and stave off any consideration for demotion too far down the banzuke. He has to overcome a flagging Terutsuyoshi, who only has 3 wins so far, and a loss today would be make-koshi. They have an even 4-4 career record.
Tamawashi vs Ura – Ura poured everything into that day 10 match against Terunofuji. He’s likely to finish make-koshi this tournament, but he has shown a lot of drive and fighting spirit. He’s got another tough match today, facing Tamawashi. Tamawashi is nothing close to his former strength, but is still an expert tsuki practitioner.
Wakatakakage vs Kiribayama – I would guess that Kiribayama is looking to see if he can make san’yaku in November. To my eye we will likely clear out one Komusubi and one Sekiwake slot. The big churn may apply to the named ranks as well, perhaps. Right now, Kiribayama looks like a strong contender for one of those slots, and it would be his first posting. He looked really solid in his Harumafuji style win on day 9. I think he has a fair shot against Wakatakakage, who may be more demoralized right now than out classed.
Hoshoryu vs Takanosho – Hoshoryu’s next loss is make-koshi for him. I don’t think it’s a huge chance today against Takanosho, but then they have only fought once before, with Hoshoryu winning. We can be almost certain that Hoshoryu will end up lower on the banzuke for November. His days kyujo were the primary driver of that. Today’s match is a complete toss up, and will possibly come down to who lands the first volley.
Takarafuji vs Ichinojo – Ichinojo has been struggling for most of Aki. He can fight really well when all of the elements come together, but he is unable to consistently bring them along. Part of this may be the strain of being that huge puts on every part of his body, it’s just beyond what can be sustained. I would suggest that he has a strong chance today against Takarafuji, as the Isegahama man’s defensive sumo really does not match well against someone the size of Ichinojo.
Mitakeumi vs Daieisho – A Mitakeumi win today would be kachi-koshi, and another banzuke at Sekiwake, which would make 17 – quite the mark! He has a fairly good average against Daieisho (10-7), and has been fighting better this September. I do like how Daieisho seems to have re-connected with the sumo that brought him the Emperor’s cup earlier this year. Maybe he can over come the odds today and put Mitakeumi on the clay.
Onosho vs Takakeisho – Tadpole fight! Yes indeed, we love it when things get froggy at the Kokugikan. Onosho does not have a winning record against Takakeisho (3-7), and may have a rough ride to a loss, but at least Onosho is already kachi-koshi.
Shodai vs Meisei – A Shodai win today is kachi-koshi for him, and I think he’s got a real strong case (6-1 career) against Meisei, who has lost the last 4 out of 6, and will likely end Aki with a losing record.
Takayasu vs Terunofuji – Its time to play that card, Takayasu somehow manages to have a 12-9 record against Terunofuji, but has been fighting so poorly this tournament, I don’t think it matters. Especially if you recogize that Takayasu’s 4-6 record includes on 2 wins on the clay (plus 2 fusensho). A good chance of Terunofuji hitting the Yokozuna kachi-koshi today.