Some news came up today thanks to Herouth. It seems that Nakamura Oyakata, or as I call him “Yoshikaze” will be joining Kisenosato’s high tech sumo training camp in the far flung reaches of Japan, where he will be a coach. This comes about as Oguruma Oyakata is just weeks away from retirement, and the Kaze clan will be scattered to the winds shortly. Meanwhile, Oshiogawa Oyakata, aka “Takekaze” is likely planning his own stable soon.
But let’s not gloss over this Yoshikaze + Kisenosato team up. May I just say “Holy Crap!“
Long time readers will recall I am a massive Yoshikaze booster, and the prospect of him working with Kisenosato, who is open to new approaches to build a better rikishi have me unreasonably excited about the future of the sport. I guess I have to wonder if all the little deshi will be “Sato”s or will there be some “Kaze”s in there too? Either way, can’t wait to see how this one goes. I wonder if Yago and Tomokaze are going to end up with Yoshikaze or Takekaze.
What We Are Watching Day 4
Aoiyama vs Oho – Normally I would be quite excited for this match. But right now Aoiyama is in tough shape. Near the bottom of the banzuke, he is still struggling to produce any meaningful offense. I am going to guess a set of injuries that have robbed him of his massive strength, and left him an easy mark. Oho has a chance to go 4-0 today, and that would be quite a statement for the rookie.
Kotoeko vs Tsurugisho – Also on the list of “Not even close to what they are capable of” is Tsurugisho. He has yet to win a match, and he looks to be in pain each time he crouches to start a match. As the last man on the banzuke, Kotoeko probably has very positive outlook of finishing the first act with a winning record.
Kaisei vs Tochinoshin – 25 career matches between them, and I don’t think they matter too much for today. Tochinoshin is day-by-day, and on day 3 he was in no condition to really fight in any forward gear. If that’s the case on day 4, Kaisei’s massive body is going to be a considerable obstacle to any offensive sumo for the former Ozeki.
Kotonowaka vs Wakamotoharu – Both men come into today with good 2-1 records, and it’s a bit of a battle of the fresh faces for us early in the top division day. The career record is 2-1 for Kotonowaka, but to my eye, Wakamotoharu has been fighting better so far this month. I am going to look for him to get inside early and be in control.
Chiyomaru vs Ichiyamamoto – Its easy as a fan to think of Chiyomaru as this jolly round ball of mochi that sometimes wins sumo matches. Then you get a match like day 3 against Ishiura, and you realize that that giant mountain of a man can move with terrifying speed and power. But I have been surprised so far by Ichiyamamoto’s versatility, so I am looking forward to the possibility he may surprise Chiyomaru, and the fans today.
Ishiura vs Yutakayama – Ishiura at his first loss with Chiyomaru blasting him out of the ring on day 3, and today he has a chance to bounce back by given Yutakayama the business. Both come in at 2-1, so the winner will get a coveted 3rd win. I like Ishiura’s chances today, as it seems he’s in fair to good health, an fighting well.
Chiyotairyu vs Terutsuyoshi – Winless Chiyotairyu has a whole ramen bowl full of trouble. He’s not moving well, and his tachiai lacks its normal explosive power. He has a worrisome 0-3 score. Robbed of his two primary offensive elements, he’s not all that big of a threat. So day 4 against Terutsuyoshi looks like a clear advantage for the Isegahama man.
Myogiryu vs Akua – Myogiryu is back in good health, and he is quite far down the banzuke. I am going to guess he is going to do a lot of damage down here, and could have one of these “Cinderella” scores going into act 3, simply because of the quality of his opponents for the first 10 days. He has winless Akua, who I would also classifying as nursing some unknown injury.
Sadanoumi vs Shimanoumi – I am going to suggest this will be quite one sited, in Sadanoumi’s favor. Whatever injury Shimanoumi was nursing in Kyushu seems to still be haunting him. If that is the case, he is going to struggle against everyone, including Sadanoumi.
Tobizaru vs Takarafuji – Tobizaru has never won a match against Takarafuji. Mostly because Tobizaru’s sumo features dancing about, swatting at your opponent and lots and lots of motion. Takarafuji could care less. He’s like a mighty glacier, he has time, strength and power. Dance around, Monkey. I have all day, Takarafuji says.
Chiyonokuni vs Abi – I keep thinking, “Today is going to be the day that Chiyonokuni wins his first match”. And it keeps not being that day. He has Abi now, so once again – today will not be that day. I don’t think Abi is really going to meet too much resistance until he is near the top of the rank and file. So Osaka then?
Onosho vs Hoshoryu – A good pairing, they have an even 2-2 record. Their fights come down to who lands the first combo most of the time. Onosho will drive it to be a thrusting match, and I am going to guess Hoshoryu will try for a belt grip and to trip / throw Onosho. The contrast in opening move preference can make for some explosive tachiai…
Chiyoshoma vs Hokutofuji – Both come into day 4 with somewhat disappointing 1-2 records. Tachiai readers know that Hokutofuji is the man with the most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo, and I am starting to think this is one of the basho where this is true. He has a 4-1 career advantage over Chiyoshoma, so maybe he will be the one to leave the dohyo with a win today.
Tamawashi vs Okinoumi – Twenty six career matches, with an even 13-13 split between them. Okinoumi has yet to win one, and I am going to guess his chronic lower pelvic injury is once again impacting his sumo. If that’s the case, he is going to have a pretty rottens core this January.
Ichinojo vs Daieisho – Both men are 1-2, and I personally like Ichinojo’s chances today. I am sure Daieisho is plenty pumped after giving Shodai a fast exit from the dohyo on day 3, so I expect him to open strong and confident. Hopefully Ichinojo gets defensive foot placement early, and just wears Daieisho down.
Mitakeumi vs Meisei – I think we will continue to see good sumo from Mitakeumi, at least until Sunday. I would love to see him be competitive into week 2, but that’s going to be a tough ask in his case. I think Meisei is fighting well, but Mitakeumi has that September 2019 look in his eyes.
Endo vs Takanosho – Endo, get your sumo together sir.
Takakeisho vs Kiribayama – Takakeisho is in the unexpected position of having a losing record in week 1. I am sure the Ura match was a bit of a surprise to him, and he certainly hopes it did not embolden winless Kiribayama. Kiribayama has an ability to rally for a big match, and surprised upper ranked rikishi with unexpectedly aggressive and effective sumo. Advice to Takakeisho, don’t wait for the right opening, just take any contact you can and boost him out of the ring on the second step.
Wakatakakage vs Shodai – Wakatakakage has a 3-3 record against Shodai, who looked about as lost as I have ever seen him in his day 3 loss to Daieisho. I am starting to wonder if he is also hurt, as we have not really seen any of his signature sumo moves, including his “cartoon sumo”, which is sorely missed.
Terunofuji vs Ura – Initial reaction is, “Kaiju eats him whole and spits out some of the bones”. But this is Ura, master of WTF sumo, and just as likely as to have you hurtling out of the ring faster than you can say, “Wait, what?” I am sure Terunofuji is working with Terutsuyoshi employing grab-and-tug sumo to try and get a good formula for shutting down the pink mawashi. I think this match has a lot of potential when all factors are considered. Then again, there’s not a serviceable knee between the two of them.