The Kyokai released the initial list of top division bouts for Day 1 and Day 2. With Asanoyama suspended and Hakuho’s spot blanked out, and no declared kyujo to start the tournament, much of the banzuke is straight-forward. The fact that there are no kyujo is probably the best news from this list of bouts.
Abi will face Chiyomaru for his return to the top division, and Akua on Day 2. Shohozan will face Kaisei as both hope for solid runs to hang on to their top division rankings. Down in Juryo, the Day 1 schedule is the easiest set of pairings, as the East side of the banzuke faces off against their western counterparts. The newly-minted sekitori, Asanowaka and Hiradoumi will face off against each other while Hokuseiho’s Covid-delayed debut will come against Tohakuryu.
I’m looking forward to the Tobizaru-Aoiyama matchup for the pure entertainment value. But I’ve drawn *two* circles around the Takayasu/Endo bout. The first circle is because it’s a bout between two guys with no shikona. The second circle is because I think this could give an early sense as to whether either wrestler will be ready to compete. Each has the potential to make a good run deep into week two and I hope we get to see them both on form.
Tune in tomorrow for the dohyo matsuri! The Kyushu basho is finally here!