Basho day 3 usually presents a great opportunity for the scheduling crew to pair off 1-1 rikishi and start the sorting process early. This happens with gusto today, so expect everyone below the san’yaku to have an even pairing, and you will likely be correct.
Given what happened to Terunofuji on day 2, I have to say that it’s time to see if he has a bit of a performance problem this March. Like Shodai he had a turn with COVID-19 in the break between Hatsu and Heru. It would be a massive shame if he was also suffering with lingering strength and endurance problems, which is all to common among people who recover from COVID. We all hope that is not the case, but day 2 Terunofuji got jumped by Daieisho, and that was a bit of a surprise to me.
What We Are Watching Day 3
Kagayaki vs Kotokuzan – I would like to think that Kagayaki is going to get his sumo in shape for a 10-5 run this time out, but so far its looking more like 7-7 going into day 15. What I liked in prior days about his sumo was that it was all fundamentals based, and these sumo mechanics simply work when they are executed well. They may not take you to Ozeki, but they can get you a firm spot in the top division. I have no idea what has gone wrong with him, but I want it to pass. I am guessing Kotokuzan of picking up the win today in this 1-1 match.
Nishikigi vs Ichiyamamoto – Nishikigi has a 2-0 start, and before we start thinking he will get one more Cinderella trip to san’yaku, he’s going to take down many more rikishi. He has a 1-3 career deficit against Ichiyamamoto, so another day to gamberize for him.
Kotoshoho vs Yutakayama – in spite of the mega-bandage on Yutakayama’s right arm, he seems to be moving well enough to have a 2-0 start to this tournament. So time to see what he has against Kotoshoho. Kotoshoho is lighter and faster, and may evade Yutakayama’s standard approach of bracketing his opponent and then driving him out. It’s a mini version of stablemate Shodai’s “Wall of Daikon”, and he has been using it with great effect since last tournament.
Tochinoshin vs Chiyonokuni – Raise your hand if you want to see Tochinoshin use that forearm strike on Chiyonokuni’s chin? Not that I want to see sumo’s “Grumpy Badger” injured. Rather, I think it would be considered an invitation to brutal Chiyonokuni delivered beat down the likes of which we have not seen since 2017. Go ahead, piss him off.
Chiyomaru vs Akua – The good news? One of these poor guys is going to get their first win. The bad news? Someone is going 0-3. I like Chiyomaru’s chances today, as Akua seems to be encrusted with ring rust right now, and nothing short of a steel brush and bucket of WD-40 will improve his sumo.
Chiyotairyu vs Terutsuyoshi – Another solid 1-1 match, its big man vs small man sumo, and frankly I like Terutsuyoshi in this one. He’s shown that up against a large opponent, he is quite capable of getting inside and causing a lot of havoc. Chiyotairyu seems to be running at reduced power so far, and I hope that’s just the local seafood giving him a bit of a digestive surprise.
Myogiryu vs Kotoeko – Yes, its true that in this 1-1 match Myogiryu has a 7-1 career advantage over Kotoeko. But hey, Kotoeko has looked pretty sharp both days, in spite of his day 1 loss. So I am going to guess that he has a solid chance to take a white star from Myogiryu today, doubly so if he can convince Myogiryu to go chest to chest.
Aoiyama vs Wakamotoharu – It Osaka, and while the local food seems to unsettle Chiyotairyu, it appears to really benefit Big Dan Aoiyama. Year after year, he turns in good scores in Osaka. Is it the beer? The Okonomiyaki? Please note, good Okonomiyaki is tough to come by in Tokyo. I think that it’s going to be fun to watch what he does with Wakamotoharu today. They met once before, and it was all Aoiyama.
Tobizaru vs Shimanoumi – I don’t know why, but each tournament I find myself wanting Tobizaru to do well. Now that he has a little warm up routine that is oh so simian prior to the tachiai, he’s even better in my book. He is 6-8 against Shimanoumi, who is still looking for his first win.
Sadanoumi vs Okinoumi – Both of these excellent veterans are winless. At least one of them will get their shonichi today. But that means that one of them will have a 0-3 start. Terrible.
Takayasu vs Chiyoshoma – Oh man, what a great match. I can’t wait to see this one. Chiyoshoma seems to be “born again” in terms of serious sumo. He’s going up against a surprisingly genki Takayasu. Both are 2-0, and this one may have fireworks. Takayasu has a 3-1 career advantage over Chiyoshoma, but will Takayasu go for an endurance contest? Oh, we can only hope.
Kotonowaka vs Ishiura – For reasons we can only guess at, Kotonowaka has never beaten Ishiura in 5 attempts. Given their size difference, this comes as a surprise. Ishiura has a 1-1 before today, Kotonowaka 2-0. Two great matches in the middle of the torikumi. I better put another can of Yebisu in the fridge for this.
Takarafuji vs Hokutofuji – One of these days, Hokutofuji is going to win his first match. At least that is what we think will happen. Someone make sure he’s getting enough chanko, ok? I know he’s the owner of the “Most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo” but a 0-3 start would be pushing the meme a bit far.
Onosho vs Endo – This is my favorite out of all the 1-1 matches today. I think Onosho will be a bit more reserved today given how he was completely run amok and dumped across the tawara on day 2. If Endo can get a right hand grip, it’s time for Onosho to get a clay facial, I fear. Endo holds a 6-3 career record.
Takanosho vs Tamawashi – Tamawashi comes into day 3 with a 0-2 cold start. I am not sure his fortunes will improve today, as he has a 1-4 career deficit to Takanosho, who brings a 1-1 to the dohyo in the second half of today’s action. I think a big opening salvo may be enough to give him the advantage today, but I am skeptical that he has the power right now to produce that.
Kiribayama vs Abi – Interestingly enough, a first ever match up. I would be surprised if Kiribayama can figure out Abi-zumo on the first try. Its a lot like learning how to dodge an arrow the first time you see one coming your way. As Abi has a 1-1 start, he may get his second win today, unless Kiribayama can find an opening on the first step.
Wakatakakage vs Meisei – Wakatakakage certainly looks to be fighting strongly so far, but all it is going to take is one bad day to break his run. Will Meisei disrupt him? I don’t think its too likely. Meisei has a 2-4 career deficit, and is not fighting above his average right now.
Hoshoryu vs Takakeisho – One of these days, Hoshoryu will win his first match. If he can get a hold of Takakeisho’s mawashi, then it’s his match to win. But after the soft performance from the Ozeki on day 2, I don’t think we are going to see him let anyone near his belt again this March.
Shodai vs Ichinojo – I hate to say it, but I am calling for Shodai to likely lose this one as well. He’s clearly not in fighting form, and I expect everyone is going to use him as a door mat this tournament.
Daieisho vs Mitakeumi – Fresh from collecting a kinboshi, Daieisho pulls up against possibly the most genki person in the tournament. I would love to see Mitakeumi just crush Daieisho today, but I expect that Daieisho is going to give him a hard fight, and I consider this fairly close to even as of right now, in spite of Mitakeumi’s 13-7 career record.
Terunofuji vs Ura – How banged up is Terunofuji foot? There are some reports that he injured a heel, and if true, he needs to consider going kyujo before he turns into a kinboshi dispenser deluxe. Ura has never beaten him, and if Terunofuji is healthy, I don’t expect he will today, either.