As one sumo fan on Titter commented….
I who heartedly agree. With that in mind, we launch enthusiastically into the middle weekend, where we are likely to see our first kachi-koshi rikishi on day 8. They schedulers look to be setting up Darwin’s funnel, and frankly I am both horrified and riveted to see if they can pull it off this November. Just how many 7-7 matches can we have on day 15? No one knows, but it looks like they want to find out!
What We Are Watching Day 7
Akua vs Kaisei – Kaisei at 3-3 is in the middle of the funnel, and prime candidate. Low on the banzuke, winning is all about maintaining his position as a member of the top division. He is up against Akua, who is fighting poorly. Good luck guys!
Shohozan vs Chiyonokuni – I really want Shohozan to rally, and today is the day to enable any “Beast Mode” he has left. We know Chiyonokuni is going to bash him left and right, and he may as well supply as much as he is going to receive. Shohozan holds a 9-3 career lead, but as poorly as he has been fighting this month, it may not matter.
Kagayaki vs Sadanoumi – Speed (Sadanoumi) against stability and fundamentals (Kagayaki). They are evenly matched ins many ways, and have a close 7-9 career record to prove it. I am keen to see which style proves more potent today.
Yutakayama vs Chiyomaru – Both are 2-4, and at the lower edge of the funnel. The winner is on the path to Darwin land, and the loser an important step closer to make-koshi. I really like Yutakayama’s normal mode of sumo, I just wish he could get it started this tournament. Chiyomaru is not much better, he is lacking about 20% of his genki power, and without it, he is just a mildly threatening adorable round man.
Abi vs Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji is in a 2 match losing streak, and I have to wonder if he hurt something day 4 against Terutsuyoshi. I know that Abi has a good formula to push him around and run him off the dohyo, and the unbeaten Makuuchi returnee (Abi) is likely to extend that to 7-0 today.
Ishiura vs Tochinoshin – Man, Tochinoshin looked really hurt following day 6. That back must be in bad shape. He’s likely to spend much of his day 7 match bent low trying to engage the diminutive Ishiura. In spite of Tochinoshin’s magnificent size and strength, he has not entirely dominated Ishiura, and I expect the former Ozeki is going to face a lot of trouble today.
Chiyotairyu vs Kotonowaka – Chiyotairyu really has the “Stand them up / slap them down” routine in excellent form this month, and I doubt that a substantially weakened Kotonowaka is going to give him much of a challenge. I would love to see Kotonowaka rally, but his consistently poor performance at this low of a rank point toward an injury, and that’s game set and match for the most part.
Terutsuyoshi vs Hidenoumi – I keep underestimating Hidenoumi. I think because he is so low profile that you sometimes fail to notice him, even in the middle of a match. Maybe it’s just me. I think he could very well dominate Terutsuyoshi today, who seems to not quite be into “his brand of sumo” just yet.
Aoiyama vs Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma has not beaten Aoiyama in 2 tries, but think this match is his best chance to date to score a win. Both of them are 3-3, both are excellent funnel candidates, but one of them exits the day with win number 4. To do it, Chiyoshoma may need to grab a handful of Aoiyama and throw him down. Or maybe… a henka?
Shimanoumi vs Tobizaru – Shimanoumi only scored his first win of the basho on day 6, and only by facing hapless Kotoeko. Will he use that to start to rebuild his way toward something other than a double digit losing record? Today may inform that. But he’s up against Mr. Sumimasen, sumo’s own flying monkey. Tobizaru is fighting quite well this November, and may find himself on the winning side of the line come day 15.
Kotoeko vs Hoshoryu – Grim. Kotoeko, just go kyujo. Get whatever is busted fixed.
Takayasu vs Tamawashi – Thirty (30!) match history between these two. Going back to 2012, that’s endurance. If you think about how Tamawashi has never missed a day of sumo, he and Takayasu have quite the history of battles up and down the banzuke. Today, I am going to give the edge to Tamawashi, who is fighting some of his best sumo this year.
Ura vs Endo – Oh this one screams injury to me. What kind of magical bendy tug and pull sumo are we going to get from Ura today. Endo has got to be a bit perplexed. Where do you grab on? I can’t wait to see Endo improvise.
Daieisho vs Takanosho – Both 3-3, some of the higher ranking candidates for Darwin’s funnel, and it should serve as a message to both to get their sumo into higher gear now before they find themselves at 7-7 on day 15. Daieisho has been fighting fast, but seems to be a bit off on foot work this time, and has gotten into trouble in close matches.
Ichinojo vs Wakatakakage – Both come in 2-4, both of them are funnel candidates. The loser of this match is on course for a double digit make-koshi, so I hope both of them put maximum force into every move.
Onosho vs Meisei – Speaking of the wrong kind of double digits, it’s Onosho, who is cruising toward one of his “bad” outcomes. With a 1-5 record, he’s quite likely to be make-koshi, but just how deep will he go? That’s what act 3 is for.
Mitakeumi vs Kiribayama – Mitakeumi phoned it in day 6, with some slop sumo. I think that if he goes that route again, Kiribayama will be ready to make him pay. With only a 1-5 record, it’s a long climb to be even close to a kachi-koshi, but that’s where fighting spirit comes it. Does Kiribayama have any left?
Okinoumi vs Takakeisho – Okinoumi has been fighting well, even when losing. At 2-4, he’s at the bottom edge of the funnel. But he traditionally trades off make and kachi koshi, staying more or less at the same rank in the middle of the banzuke. If he grabs Takakeisho, he can upset the Ozeki. But he would have to get past the thrusting attack first.
Shodai vs Takarafuji – Shodai, you have only lost to Takarafuji 3 time out of 17 matches. Don’t go shin-Goeido on me now and make it 4. We don’t need you kadoban, and we don’t need you to leave the fans guessing into act 3. Tighten up that Wall of Daikon, break out the Cartoon Sumo tricks, and get down to business, please!
Terunofuji vs Myogiryu – Myogiryu, will he end up on his face, on his back, or over the side? That’s really the only question here today.