Wow, day 3 and the middle of act 1. This basho is rolling along nicely. A great many sumo fans on social media have noted that the named ranks are really struggling to get going so far. Combined they have 7 wins and 9 losses. That is underscored by Shodai’s 0-2 failure to launch. Is everyone fighting poorly? Well, maybe. But ring rust is the official color of act 1, and our kanban rikishi need some WD-40 and steel wool, pronto!
One of the ideas that we put forward prior to the basho was that the top five ranks of Maegashira were strong enough this basho that they might really give folks are stiff challenge. It’s still quite early in the tournament, but I am happy to see that they are pressing the san’yaku to up their sumo.
Apologies for very brief preview tonight, work was on the generous side today.
What We Are Watching Day 3
Kotokuzan vs Midorifuji – Speaking of someone who needs to find a win, Kotokuzan needs to make sure he does not have an 0-3 start today by finding a way to best Midorifuji. He has a 2-1 career lead, but that’s not much to go on.
Azumaryu vs Kagayaki – Azumaryu is under the same doom, he has an 0-2 start, and really needs to find a win. Kagayaki is hit or miss right now, so if Azumaryu is fortunate, he will get Kagayaki on an off day.
Ichiyamamoto vs Yutakayama – Ah, a match to look forward to. Both area 2-0, both are pusher thrusters, and I think that Yutakayama’s size advantage is going to be a big obstacle for Ichiyamamoto to overcome today.
Chiyotairyu vs Oho – Chiyotairyu is also at a 0-2 start, and has resorted to early pulling attempts both days. Maybe this means he’s not up to his normal level of power and strength, or maybe he has found himself quickly getting into trouble early both days. Oho took their only prior match.
Meisei vs Sadanoumi – This is another match with a lot of interest. Both men are 1-1 to start the day, and share a 5-5 career record. Sadanoumi has looked a bit off of his normal style of sumo so far. A Meisei win today would best his 1-14 result in Osaka. Fun!
Aoiyama vs Myogiryu – Another match between 2 win rikishi. There is a significant size difference between “Big Dan” Aoiyama and Myogiryu. They have a balanced 13-12 career record, so it’s going to be an even fight. Aoiyama wins his matches against Myogiryu by slap downs, Myogiryu wins by yorikiri. So it all comes down to footwork, I am going to guess.
Okinoumi vs Chiyoshoma – Both are 1-1, and I would love to see Chiyoshoma have another solid day of strong sumo like he took to the dohyo on day 2 against Sadanoumi.
Kotoshoho vs Nishikigi – Much as I love Nishikigi, I am hoping that Kotoshoho turns in a strong score this May, so he may as well expand on his already solid 4-2 career lead over Nishikigi.
Tochinoshin vs Terutsuyoshi – Tochinoshin has an 0-2 start, and may have a lot of problems with his knee right now, or maybe even knees. That day 2 collapse may have involved his left knee, which as far as we know did not have much if any prior injuries. I personally wince sometimes when I see Tochinoshin mount the dohyo. Can’t image the pain.
Shimanoumi vs Wakamotoharu – Shimanoumi has zero wins so far, and I don’t expect Wakamotoharu to grant him any quarter today. If he’s on his game, Wakamotoharu will go straight for the mawashi and run Shimanoumi out of the ring from the tachiai.
Ura vs Kotoeko – Now this is a fun one. Kotoeko has a 2-0 start, looks strong, and should do well this tournament. He gets to fight Ura, who is not looking quite as terrible as he was in Osaka, but still seems to be not quite as good as we was last year. I would guess that like so many rikishi, his injuries come and go, and his condition on any given day is largely driven by those injuries.
Takarafuji vs Tobizaru – Takarafuji has zero wins, Tobizaru has zero losses, and Takarafuji has a 4-0 career record against Tobizaru. What a delight! Will we get to see Tobizaru take another magical mystery tour through the zabuton section? Or will we finally get to see Terunofuji use his defend and extend brand of sumo?
Onosho vs Tamawashi – Both men start this match 2-0, and I fully expect that this super genki version of Tamawashi to bash and toss Onosho around today. They have an even 5-5 career record, but I think Tamawashi is strong enough right now to have a distinct edge today.
Hoshoryu vs Hokutofuji – The fact that Hokutofuji comes in 0-2 should not be a surprise, the man is likely on a make-koshi path this tournament, and he has never beaten Hoshoryu in 3 attempts. Maybe he can pip one today? Or we may see Hoshoryu improve to 2-1.
Takanosho vs Abi – I think Abi is going to be the stronger candidate for the win today. He does have a 4-1 career advantage over Takanosho, and I think he is fighting well enough. We have not seen enough of Takanosho to really know how he is doing right now, but maybe today will be enough of a fight we can make some guesses.
Wakatakakage vs Endo – Endo is one of these rikishi who can beat anyone on the right day. I know that Wakatakakage has a 2-0 career advantage, but Endo is sharp enough that he can win against the rising star, and frankly I think today would be a great day to put Wakatakakage on the clay.
Daieisho vs Shodai – Shodai, come on man. This is just goofy now. (0-2). But you are not very skilled at winning against Daieisho (7-11), so do your best, please.
Mitakeumi vs Kotonowaka – Hey, Original Tadpole. Do not under estimate Kotonowaka. He looks a bit ridiculous, but he’s a serious contender now, and he will drop you like a sack of turnips if you give him a chance.
Takayasu vs Takakeisho – I am fairly convinced that Takakeisho is still at least partially broken. As readers of the site have astutely pointed out, he is not using his primary weapon, his right hand, in matches to any real extent. He’s up against another damage case (I think) in Takayasu, whose day 2 collapse against Terunofuji looked like a mechanical injury to me.
Terunofuji vs Kiribayama – I want Terunofuji to win this one, and I think Kiribayama is going to be intimidated enough by the kaiju before he even steps foot on the dohyo that it may be a lock.