Haru Day 4 Preview

There are four rikishi without their first win as we start day 4: Shodai, Ura, Sadanoumi and Chiyomaru. We know that someone in the Shodai vs Ura match will pick up their first white start, but I would expect that at least 2 of these 4 will put their first win on the board today.

Again it seems that there is a choice match involving Takayasu. Maybe its because I am a fan, or maybe because he’s 3-0, and they are trying to see who can put dirt on him during the first act. I am on kyujo watch for Ishiura, Shodai and sadly Terunofuji. All of them could and should make the case that they are not in fighting form, and should sit out the rest of the tournament. For Ishiura, I worry that his day 3 match against Kotonowaka resulted in a neck injury that may linger for a long time unless its addressed.

For Takayasu, he looks rested, fit and ready for all challengers. It’s been a long time since we have seen him this genki, and I am delighted that he is performing well.

What We Are Watching Day 4

Nishikigi vs Kagayaki – This should be a nice match. We have 3-0 Nishikigi, who seems to be in full command of his sumo right now, against hit or miss Kagayaki. On a normal day, Kagayaki would have a clear advantage, but he’s still not moving well, and making some odd choices in his approach to daily matches. They have a 7-8 career record.

Ichiyamamoto vs Tochinoshin – To me, the forearm blast has gotten quite old. But I am going to guess that Tochinoshin’s knee is so banged up that’s all he can really do, clobber his opponent at the tachiai and hope for the best. Both men have matching 1-2 records, and I think that it’s somewhat in Ichiyamamoto’s favor today.

Kotokuzan vs Yutakayama – First ever match for these two, I expect that Yutakayama will be the stronger rikishi in this match, and it will require Kotokuzan to revert to the sumo that got him to his top division debut, vs what he has been using so far this March. His 1-2 start is quite a bit less than I expected given his crushing victories in Juryo the last 2 tournaments.

Akua vs Chiyonokuni – I am expecting Chiyonokuni to make his 8 this time out, given that he’s down at M13, which is well below his abilities, but probably par for his injuries. Akua could and probably should make a good show of it today if he can get a hand hold and take Chiyonokuni chest to chest.

Kotoeko vs Chiyomaru – I have to think that today may be the day that Chiyomaru gets his first win. As always, Kotoeko fights really vigorously, but some tournaments he just seems to lack enough power to finish his opponents. Chiyomaru also holds a 9-5 career record over Kotoeko.

Kotoshoho vs Chiyotairyu – Both come into day 4 with matching 1-2 records, but Chiyotairyu is not looking very powerful right now, and has not beaten Kotoshoho in 2 prior attempts. Kotoshoho is bouncing back from an injury a year ago that relegated him to Juryo. His rightful place is mid-Maegashira if he is healthy, and I am eager to see him back there soon.

Shimanoumi vs Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi may have injured an elbow in his day 3 throw of Chiyotairyu, so I will be watching to see if his right arm is being protected. This was going to be a tough match for Terutsuyoshi, even if he is at 100%, as Shimanoumi has a nice formula for containing Terutsuyoshi, and beating him like a drum (10-4 career)

Myogiryu vs Aoiyama – 24 career matches between these two (11-13), and its close enough to even to declare it even. Big Dan won’t be perfect this March, but he is still one of my candidates to set the pace into week 2. Myogiryu’s blazing win over Kotoeko yesterday shows that he’s got a lot of power and speed available in a match, but against someone the size of Aoiyama, it may not net out to an advantage.

Wakamotoharu vs Sadanoumi – I think its time for Sadanoumi to rack his first win. Not that there is anything wrong with Wakamotoharu’s sumo, but with a 3-0 career advantage, and a huge need to put his first white star on the board, I think Sadanoumi will have an advantage today.

Tobizaru vs Okinoumi – Matching 1-2 records for both, with Okinoumi taking the last match, which was in September. Tobizaru’s sumo is always hit or miss, and so far this tournament its been mostly miss. Okinoumi tends to win and lose in streaks, and I think his day 3 win over Sadanoumi may have started him on a path to a kachi-koshi.

Hokutofuji vs Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma struggles with Hokutofuji. Ol’Stompy tends to make early use of neck (nodowa) or arm pit (hazu-oshi) attacks that shuts down Chiyoshoma’s superior mobility. With out his motion focused offense, Chiyoshoma is an easy mark, and that explains Hokutofuji’s 5-1 career advantage.

Takayasu vs Kotonowaka – Yet again, we have Takayasu in a high interest match in the middle of the top division. At 3-0, he will face off against fellow lossless mid-ranker Kotonowaka. Takayasu has never beaten him on the clay (one fusensho), so this will be a nice test of “how genki is Takayasu?” I am going to assume, rather genki indeed.

Ishiura vs Endo – Don’t be surprised if Ishiura does not show up for this match. He looked pretty hurt following Kotonowaka’s toss into the 3rd row. In fact if you watch the replays, it appears that his trouble began at the tachiai. Perhaps he injured his neck? Any way you divide it, I think there’s a good chance he is kyujo today.

Onosho vs Takarafuji – Now we are in for what could be a lot of fun. Mr “Total Offense” vs the strongest defensive sumo you can find. They have a near even 9-8 record, and you may remember that it’s a wide guess on who will get the advantage at the shikiri-sen. Both of them are off to tepid starts, so I am not sure if either one of them has an advantage today.

Tamawashi vs Hoshoryu – There are days when you go fishing, and suddenly a fish just leaps out of the water, and lands in your boat. Now, as an angler, you want to go through the who evolution of fighting the fish, reeling him in and eventually conquest of your tasty supper. But the fish just robs you of all that, and presents itself. This may be how Hoshoryu felt at the end of his day 3 match with Takakeisho. Today, different plan. He’s got to overcome Tamawashi who has a weight, experience and power advantage over him.

Wakatakakage vs Kiribayama – I would not want to face Wakatakakage right now. The guy is chewing through everyone who mounts the dohyo. Bring on Mitakeumi! But I am going guess they are saving that for the weekend. Kiribayama has a narrow 4-3 career advantage over Wakatakakage, so on paper at least, it looks like an even fight.

Meisei vs Abi – Unlike Kiribayama, Meisei does indeed have a recipe for shutting down Abi-zumo. You get to the side, and push his gangly hide around like a lawn mower. Lets see if the grass needs cut today.

Takanosho vs Mitakeumi – Takanosho has just a single win so far at Haru, and I think he could play the upset card today if he can out of Mitakeumi’s front quarter. Takanosho’s best attack routes are at an acute angle, and we can watch for him to make his move at the tachiai. Both men have 5 wins out of their 10 match career record.

Daieisho vs Takakeisho – I am not sure if day three was Takakeisho just trying something whimsical, or if he’s not quite dialed into his sumo right now. For a kadoban Ozeki, he’s got to wonder about that loss. Today he’s going to fight arch frenemie Daieisho, and he could really use this win. But Daieisho is in good form right now, and I think we may see him prevail.

Shodai vs Ura – Both are 0-3, and I don’t know is Shodai has enough energy and strength to mount a credible attack against Ura. If that is the case, this is going to be tough to watch.

Terunofuji vs Ichinojo – The good news is that Terunofuji can typically make Ichinojo start heading for the shitaku-beya just by giving him a stern look. The bad news is that I think everyone knows Terunofuji is hurt, even Ichinojo.

6 thoughts on “Haru Day 4 Preview

  1. I suspect it’ll be well into week 2 before we see Mitakeumi vs. Wakatakakage, especially if both keep doing well.

  2. I’m really impressed with Wakatakage’s pre-bout body language. He looks like a sleek predator poised to pounce. As if he fully expects to win. I don’t remember seeing this previously. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s still like that after a loss.

    • Incidentally, and on the subject of scheduling, did you expect them to be matched up on Day 4 given that Ishiura is outside the joi? I know at some point they have to go further down the banzuke for Endo since he can’t meet Daieisho, but Takarafuji is closer in rank. Maybe because by doing it that way it avoids a bigger disparity in rank for Ishiura (if Endo fights Takarafuji then Ishiura would have to meet someone higher up than all of them e.g. Onosho).

      • Yes, I did. If you follow the algorithm I’d described in my torikumi posts from the top, san’yaku scheduling takes you down to M4e, with Onosho not getting a san’yaku opponent due to the way the schedule was laid out on prior days. Onosho is next in line for an opponent, and the highest available choice is Takarafuji. Then we get to Endo, and his highest available opponent is Ishiura.

        • Thank you for the explanation, I think I’ll have to remain mystified :) – I tried to work out using the alogirthm whether, in an ideal scenario with no kyujo and no stablemates, it was actually possible for a pure round-robin of the top 16, or if at some point the prior scheduling would rule that out. But that is definitely beyond me!

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