Well now – it’s the last day of act 1 on the horizon! That was fast, and I must admit, kind of fun. I think day 4 was the best so far, but there is a lot waiting for us on day 5. For those of you who wonder, Team Tachiai describe the 15 day basho arc as being divided into 3 distinct acts, each with its own theme and goal. Act 1, which we are about to close out, is to get rid of the ring rust, and to figure out who is hot, and who is not. Its far too early to kick off any sort of yusho race, but looking at the arasoi… what the?!?..
(leaves the room, hits himself with a nearby shovel).
Ok, here are the 3 that have 4-0 records going into day 5.
- M5W Tobizaru
- M11E Aoiyama
- M15W Ichiyamamoto
Well, it’s only day 4. Maybe there is still time to prevent the apocalyptic outcome of a Tobizaru yusho speech. Who am I kidding, the guy is super nice, and it would probably be up there with Tokushoryu
What We Are Watching Day 5
Azumaryu vs Midorifuji – Azumaryu picked up his first win day 4, and its time to see if he can put another one on the board. This is a balanced match, and they have a 5 match history split 3-2 in favor of Midorifuji. I am looking for Azumaryu to start strong, with a good chance he will carry the match if he can connect at the tachiai.
Oho vs Ichiyamamoto – Now this match has potential. Ichiyamamoto is part of that 4-0 group, and a win today would mean he was perfect in act 1, quite the accomplishment! But he has to overcome Oho, who is still struggling to prove that he really deserves to be in the top division.
Kagayaki vs Meisei – Much as I love Kagayaki and his fundamentals based sumo, I dearly want Meisei to start picking up wins. So I hope he lives up to his 5-1 career advantage and gives Kagayaki the business today.
Chiyotairyu vs Kotokuzan – Well, I made a bit of noise over the 4-0 crew, but there are two sad rikishi who are 0-4, and Kotokuzan is one of them. Hurt? Discouraged? No idea, but I hope he can find his first win today. His opponent Chiyotairyu is in poor shape himself.
Yutakayama vs Sadanoumi – I am very happy with Sadanoumi’s 3-1 score right now. That day 4 match where he gave Oho a proper spanking was a think of beauty, and I wonder if he is going to be able to out maneuver Yutakayama the way he did Oho. They have a balanced 7-7 career record, so this is the kind of match that could be a great brawl.
Aoiyama vs Chiyoshoma – Ah, I see now – well, it’s time to see if someone can get dirt on Aoiyama, and they chose Chiyoshoma to take the first turn. He has a 6-3 career lead over Aoiyama, but I just hope and pray that Big Dan has a mischievous streak in him, and pulls a giant, fleshy, lumbering henka today.
Myogiryu vs Nishikigi – Both are starting today at 2-2, and there is a 7-4 career edge for Nishikigi. The last 2 have gone to Nishikigi, each win was a throw. So hopefully Myogiryu can keep his stance wide and his feet spaced.
Kotoshoho vs Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin has a 3-0 career lead over Kotoshoho, so I think this is a way to see if the former Ozeki can pick his second win. If Tochinoshin’s knee is workable, he can completely out-power Kotoshoho if he can get a grip on his opponents mawashi.
Okinoumi vs Terutsuyoshi – I would guess that Okinoumi is aiming for a 7-8 make-koshi, so its about time for him to pick up another win. He has a 3-1 career record against Terutsuyoshi, so lets see if he can bring his best sumo today.
Takarafuji vs Kotoeko – Can Takarafuji pick up his first win today? He has a 5-1 career advantage over Kotoeko, so the schedulers are doing everything they can to give him a chance. It’s pretty clear given his 6-9 result in Osaka, and his 0-4 start in May, he’s coping with a possible career ending injury. At 35, he’s about due for an exit, but I admire him sticking with it.
Ura vs Wakamotoharu – Ura has not won against Wakamotoharu in either of his previous attempts. Both of them were in Juryo during the pandemic years, and I am eager to see how things have changed since March of 2021. With Ura fighting well right now, the stage is set for a glorious battle.
Shimanoumi vs Tobizaru – Two years ago, at the start of the COVID pandemic, the NSK canceled the Natsu basho. In response, the wonderful folks at Grand Sumo Breakdown and Team Tachiai created a “Mock Natsu Basho“, and spent 15 days taking our fans and readers through what we thought might have happened (Mitakeumi took the cup). With that as a precedent, I would like to preemptively declare Tobizaru the champion and yusho winner of the Mock Natsu 2022. With that “death note”, I hereby doom sumo’s flying monkey to a power wedgie today at the hands of 1-3 Shimanoumi.
Takanosho vs Kotonowaka – Ok, back to the real Natsu 2022 basho. I think Kotonowaka is on a roll right now, and I think he’s going to best Takanosho today. I did really like Takanosho’s day 4 win over Tamawashi, who is no easy mark. But rignt now Kotonowaka is in a bit of a hot streak.
Takayasu vs Kiribayama – Many fans had expected Takayasu to be quite dominant this basho, and he has been able to manage a 1-3 record after facing all of the Ozeki and the Yokozuna. So now its up to him to build from that crummy 1-3 and try to get to 8, at a minimum. Kiribayama comes in with a matching poor score, and will be hard pressed to overcome Takayasu’s mass and experience advantage.
Daieisho vs Abi – Oh good, a pair of super-thrust rikishi face off with a 6-7 career record. Abi will open high with an attack to the face and neck, Daieisho will (hopefully) go for center-mass and break Abi’s balance. This is a quintessential attack vs attack battle, and I think it may not last more than a couple of seconds.
Wakatakakage vs Hoshoryu – I predicted that Wakatakakage was going to be make-koshi this tournament, and I am standing fast on that forecast. His footwork has been terrible, and his form has been degrading. He has yet to face the Ozeki or the Yokozuna, so he’s got a tough road ahead o him. He does have a 5-2 career advantage over Hoshoryu, so I give him a slight, but rough, edge today.
Mitakeumi vs Tamawashi – Before anyone gets too jazzed about this match (it looks good from the wrapper, doesn’t it?), know that Mitakeumi has a 27-3 career advantage over Tamawashi. I call that decisive. So we may see Mitakeumi pick up his 3rd win today, but lets all hope that Tamawashi makes him work for it.
Onosho vs Takakeisho – Tadpole fight! We get a battle of the big thrusters, and I am going to be watching to see if Takakeisho can make a dent in Onosho’s offense when he only has one working arm. The Ozeki does have a 10-3 career record over Onosho, so Onosho has a hill to climb today.
Endo vs Shodai – Well, if we had normal Shodai, this would be a clear advantage for him, given his 10-5 career lead. But this form of Shodai is pretty random, and I have no idea if he’s going to fight today, or lie flat. Both come in with 1-3 records, and both of them are fighting poorly right now.
Terunofuji vs Hokutofuji – Hoping to see a dominant Terunofuji today. Early capture of Hokutofuji, a set up, and a powerful toss out of the ring. Hokutofuji has beaten Terunofuji 3 times in 11 attempts, so it is possible for him to post a victory today, but Hokutofuji has not won against the Yokozuna since Terunofuji’s return to the top division in 2020.