Awake now? I thought so. Day 14. What can I say? Given how this tournament has gone, on the one hand I’m just surprised that we have made it to Senshuraku. On the other hand, I’m very excited for it. Four more Juryo visitors today. Well, Ryuden and Hidenoumi are hold overs from yesterday, joined today by Mitoryu and Chiyonokuni.
Onosho (9-5) vs Chiyonokuni (Juryo 8-6): The Mummy visits from Juryo and will take on a hot Onosho. Let’s face it, Onosho is ranked much lower than his capabilities. He’s usually pretty solid at the top end of the division so we should expect him to clean up down here. Chiyonokuni will go all out and this could be a great brawl, but Onosho is just too strong this tournament. I have no idea where either of these two will end up on the Aki banzuke but it’s safe to say both are looking higher.
Myogiryu (9-5) vs Hidenoumi (J* 5-9): Hidenoumi is injured. His leg could not bare any force from Takarafuji yesterday and he’s lost his last 6 in a row. Let’s hope he can avoid doing more damage. Myogiryu should have an easy win here.
Ryuden (J* 12-2) vs Takarafuji (8-6): Ryuden is racking up wins and should be catapulted into the thick of it for September. He’s been very genki and effective, eager to get back into the top division. This should be a quality belt battle. I’m giving Ryuden the edge based on that motivation. I sure wouldn’t go against it.
Shimanoumi (1-13) vs Mitoryu (J* 8-6): Mitoryu Will be looking for a Makuuchi promotion while Shimanoumi is certain for a demotion after his terrible performance. With another win, Mitoryu will be a strong candidate to claim one of the slots vacated by Chiyomaru, Daiamami, and Shimanoumi.
Tochinoshin (7-7) vs Yutakayama (7-7): One of two Darwin bouts today. I wonder if the oshi-tsuki style suits Tochinoshin’s knee a bit better than yotsu nowadays. If so, his powerful tsuppari can hang with Yutakayama. I would not be surprised if Tochinoshin wins a slapfest.
Nishikifuji (9-5) vs Hokutofuji (6-8): This should be a great, high-octane bout. The only first-time meeting of all the Makuuchi bouts today, so both will be in discovery mode, feeling out each other’s weaknesses.
Okinoumi (4-10) vs Chiyomaru (5-9): To be honest, Okinoumi has been fighting better than his 4-10 record would indicate. Chiyomaru has had a few glimpses of strength but has been out of his element and is on his way back. Okinoumi will get a hold of him and send him back to Juryo.
Aoiyama (6-8) vs Terutsuyoshi (5-9): The fan pick here will be Terutsuyoshi but Big Dan will give him a beating. Terutsuyoshi’s “on tilt,” and hasn’t been effective with the submarine.
Oho (8-6) vs Sadanoumi (6-8): Sadanoumi looked fierce and intense yesterday. If he brings that fire to face Oho, the bout is his. His profile page on the Kyokai website says his favorite food is “niku” (meat). Whatever that meat was yesterday, give it to him again.
Wakamotoharu (5-9) vs Chiyotairyu (6-8): Wakamotoharu put together a great bout against Kiribayama. Well, two great bouts against Kiribayama, and arguments are being made that he actually won both. I hope he comes into the bout today with a chip on his shoulder. Watch out for the henka, though! I think Chiyotairyu will get tricky.
Ura (7-7) vs Ichinojo (11-3): Ura’s fighting for kachi-koshi; Ichinojo is fighting for the yusho. Bigger man, bigger stakes. Speaking of steaks, the yusho winner usually gets a whole cow worth of meat. I think that would feed Ichinojo for a solid week. He didn’t look so strong yesterday, though. Ura can take advantage and get the win behind his advanced mobility. Will the yusho dreams be for naught?
Kiribayama (7-7) vs Chiyoshoma (7-7): Our second Darwin bout of the night is a doozy. Kiribayama FTW! Watch for the henka!
Meisei (8-6) vs Abi (8-6): Meisei found a bit of a groove this basho. Abi will make a new groove in the middle of Meisei’s forehead with that lethal tsuppari.
Hoshoryu (9-5) vs Midorifuji (9-5): This will be a humdinger of a bout. Hoshoryu’s got the edge, though. He’s fighting at a high-level and his skill and versatility is just about the best in the division. He won’t have a size disadvantage so I think it’s his bout to lose.
Wakatakakage (8-6) vs Shodai (9-5): Shodai pulled a hell of a move against Terunofuji yesterday. He’s going to need to fight a much more high-energy bout today and I don’t think he’s got it in him. 9-6 isn’t bad but as an Ozeki, we expect 10-12. But who are we kidding? Virtually no one’s picking up 12 lately, other than Terunofuji.
Terunofuji (11-3) vs Takakeisho (10-4): Will there be a playoff, or will the yusho be won outright? If there’s a playoff, who will be in it? Takakeisho needs to answer the call here. It’s been almost two years since T-Rex won, and it’s been a year since he’s even been a factor. Terunofuji’s only challenge has come from those who battle with wits & brawn.