We enter the middle weekend with a most unusual circumstance. None of the named rank rikishi are leading the scoreboard. In fact, its only Terunofuji who shows up on the leader board at 2 wins behind Aoiyama at 6-0. Sure, we will take our first look at the leaderboard tomorrow on the preview of day 8, but where is this thing going? Good question, I think we are going to have at least 2 kadoban Ozeki, and we may have a Yokozuna kyujo before next Wednesday. I know the schedulers are going to try and get the lower ranked guys with high scores to face some tougher opponents, but to be hones there are very few tough opponents to feed them to right now.
Sumo has hit a bit of an entropy point, it seems, and where it is heading right now is anyone’s guess. Even the great hope Wakatakakage is struggling right now. So maybe we end this in a week and nothing will make sense, and we will need to wait for Nagoya to sort this all out.
What We Are Watching Day 7
Chiyomaru vs Kagayaki – With banzuke out of balance, it’s time for us to welcome visitors from Juryo, and who better to have be our first visitor than Chiyomaru? Yes, the great spheroid shall mount the dohyo today to face off against Kagayaki. They have a pretty even record, and if Chiyomaru can reach his 8 wins, we will likely see him back in the top division.
Oho vs Yutakayama – After winning his first two matches, Yutakayama has lost the following four. So now he comes up against Oho, who has a matching 2-4 record, but has never lost to Yutakayama. I would guess, given how far both are drifting toward make-koshi, that they are going to put a lot of effort into this fight.
Kotokuzan vs Meisei – Kotokuzan still has yet to find his first win, and he has a first ever match against hapless Meisei. I personally think Kotokuzan may be a lost cause for now, but I would like to see Meisei get at least enough wins to keep him in the top division for Nagoya in July.
Chiyotairyu vs Ichiyamamoto – After a cold 0-3 start, Chiyotairyu has won his last three, and it’s using a formula of “stand them up, knock them down”, and it has worked quite well. He has, however, never beaten Ichiyamamoto. Might he do that today? Ichiyamamoto is 5-1, and seems to be fighting his best right now. Could be fireworks today.
Myogiryu vs Midorifuji – We get a rocking good funnel battle next, with Midorifuji part of the 3-3 funnel group, and Myogiryu at 4-2 just at the high side of the funnel. In terms of maximizing people headed for Darwin matches, the idea outcome wold be a Midorifuji, which is far from certain.
Aoiyama vs Sadanoumi – Basho leader… (no really( Aoiyama gets a chance to knock down one of the men 1 win behind him. Big Dan has a 10-7 career advantage over Sadanoumi, and Aoiyama is fighting as well as he ever has. I am sure that the schedulers know at some time there will be Aoiyama matches against higher rankers, though at this point I am not sure it’s going to make a huge difference. I expect Sadanoumi to have a very narrow chance at the start to get Aoiyama on defense, if he misses that, I expect he’s going to get a lot of V-Twin pain.
Azumaryu vs Nishikigi – Prime Darwin match, both men are 3-3, and regardless of who wins, both will stay within the funnel. They have 13 career matches together, with Azumaryu having won 8 of them in the past. Both will want to go chest to chest, so should be a good fight that is light on the preliminaries and long on the battle hugs.
Shimanoumi vs Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma has a 7-3 career advantage, and its seems that there is a desire to have this one be a Chiyoshoma win, which would leave them both at 3-4, at the bottom edge of the funnel. Brutal stuff here, out of the 7 wins, Chiyoshoma has used a nice variety of techniques, where the 3 wins from Shimanoumi are primarily oshi prefixed kimarite.
Tochinoshin vs Kotoeko – I continue to be amazed that Tochinoshin can piece together wins, and is now at 3-3, and fighting well enough that we can picture him with an 8-7 kachi-koshi next Sunday. He has a 5-1 career advantage over Kotoeko, who comes in with a healthy 4-2 score. Look for a big grab from Tochinoshin by the second step.
Takarafuji vs Okinoumi – It’s painful to watch Takarafuji compete now. No wins, no ability to hold a defense, which is the basis of his sumo. So he’s going to fight Okinoumi 2-4 today, and Takarafuji is pretty much training ballast for him, I would expect.
Kotoshoho vs Wakamotoharu – I give Wakamotoharu an advantage here, and it comes down to Wakamotoharu having a clear winning record, at his highest ever rank. Much as I love Kotoshoho’s sumo, I think he’s going to grapple with Wakamotoharu today, and that’s the last choice he gets to make before he decides with step to use to remount the dohyo to bow when the match is over.
Ura vs Terutsuyoshi – Two smaller, agile and inventive rikishi square off – sign me up! They have a 1-1 career score, and there is no real indication which one is going to have an advantage. So Ura will try to use his standoff grab and tug while Terutsuyoshi will try to dive in and grab the mawashi. Could be quite acrobatic, so pre prepared.
Tobizaru vs Takanosho – Tobizaru got a day off yesterday, when Onosho went kyujo, so he should show up rested and ready to fight. He does not have a winning track record against Takanosho (3-6), so he will have his hands full once they launch off the shikiri-sen. A loss today by Tobizaru would likely knock him off the leader board, so I expect him to be well motivated today.
Takayasu vs Kotonowaka – Its really a shame that Takayasu has only been able to win one match so far this May. After a fairly decent showing in March, he’s likely headed for a hard core make-koshi at Natsu. They have only fought twice, and they spit it 1-1. There is no lack of skill on the part of Takayasu, but I think his multitude of injuries have put a hard cap on what he can achieve.
Hoshoryu vs Abi – Now another high interest match. Abi has yet to find a way to beat Hoshoryu in 2 prior attempts, and they both are at 4-2 on the winning side of the funnel. The one who prevails in this match will exit the funnel, the loser will be relegated to fight their way toward a 7-7 day 14 score.
Wakatakakage vs Kiribayama – Both men are at 3-3, and both are square in the middle of the funnel. There is a small 5-3 career advantage in favor of Kiribayama, but for both of these guys they can win on any given day. So this one is “battle on” and I expect possibly the biggest fight of the day. So make sure you are ready for a tough contest.
Tamawashi vs Takakeisho – We are running the real risk of having all 3 Ozeki be kadoban in July. We get an indication of that in this match, when red-hot Tamawashi squares off in an oshi-battle deluxe against the Grand Tadpole. I don’t like Takakeisho’s chances right now, as he seems to be struggling with matches he should be winning during week one. So could be a tough match.
Hokutofuji vs Shodai – Normally, I would say Shodai by a mile, given that he has a 11-2 career lead over Hokutofuji. But they both come into day 7 with matching 1-5 stinky records. The only good news that will come out of this match is that one of these two goobers will get their second win.
Mitakeumi vs Daieisho – I am really pulling for Mitakeumi to win this one, as one of these Ozeki should have a winning record at the end of this tournament. He has a 14-7 career lead over Daieisho, so maybe he can get his sumo together for day 7 and dominate.
Terunofuji vs Endo – Terunofuji comes into this match with a 4-2 record, which is Kakuryu style at this point to be certain. Clearly he is hurt, and struggling each day. Endo is not really been showing his best sumo, but he always rallies for the big matches. Terunofuji holds a narrow 7-5 career advantage over Endo.