With day 3 upon us, I think we are able to say that there was not too much ring rust to be scrubbed off this time. Everyone seems to be getting into form, as best they can, across the rikishi corps. Sadly tehre are some folks who don’t have their first win, and are likely to struggle the entire tournament. In this list of “look out below” I would put:
- Terutsuyoshi – Clearly still hurt, and unable to fight with any power or mobility, both of which were his keys to success.
- Azumaryu – never had a kachi-koshi in the top division, and maybe never will
- Okinoumi – his long sumo career may finally be taking its toll on his body
- Aoiyama – likewise for Big Dan, he seems to have knee / ankle problems right now
- Takarafuji – a fan favorite, but he’s too banged up (maybe his back?) to use his trademark defensive sumo
For all of these rikishi, we wish them the best of luck, and hope they can get back to good form soon.
What We Are Watching Day 3
Terutsuyoshi vs Hiradoumi – Our first match of the day does not feature a Juryo visitor today, instead we have the next installment of an injured and greatly diminished Terutsuyoshi struggling to stay in the top division. Its kind of heart breaking to watch, but that is the nature of sumo, sometimes glorious, sometimes brutal. He won the only prior match with Terutsuyoshi was at Aki, which Terutsuyoshi won.
Churanoumi vs Atamifuji – The Juryo visitor today is Churanoumi, who may signal a change in fortunes for debutante Atamifuji. Atamifuji has won both their prior matches, and maybe he can find a way to put his first white star on the board.
Ichiyamamoto vs Azumaryu – First ever match, and I am concerned that once again Azumaryu will get into the top division, but not be able to hold rank there. The only time he was able to stick around was with some solid banzuke luck in March of 2020, where a 7-8 make-koshi from M15e say him only lose one rank. He comes in with zero wins, and is fighting 2-0 Ichiyamamoto.
Kagayaki vs Oho – I keep thinking to myself, one day Oho is going to show everyone what he is capable of, right? But day after day he shows up and delivers just enough sumo to be competitive. It only gets him a win roughly half the time. Maybe Maegashira 13 is the best he will ever do? He’s up against 2-0 Kagayaki today, who seems to have found his good sumo fundamentals under the tatame mats in the heya’s sleeping quarters after misplacing them a bit more than a year ago.
Okinoumi vs Chiyotairyu – A pair of long serving top division mainstays face off. They have a 19 match career record, and both of them look like they are in need of major maintenance of a complete engine overhaul. If anything, 1-1 Chiyotairyu is slightly less likely to be found broken down by the side of the road than 0-2 Okinoumi.
Onosho vs Kotoeko – This one has a lot of potential. Onosho, at 2-0, has managed to win both days so far. He’s strong, his balance is not too out of alignment, and he’s delivering good pushing power. Kotoeko may have been robbed of a win on day 2, but sometimes the referees and judges get it wrong, and that’s in any sport. They have 12 prior matches that they have split 6-6, so I am looking for an even fight today.
Kotoshoho vs Chiyoshoma – I am surprised to see Chiyoshoma start day three with an 0-2 record. His sumo is strong enough that he is quite likely to win today or tomorrow, so I think 2-0 Kotoshoho may have to eat a loss today. Hopefully we won’t see a henka out of Chiyoshoma, I would like him to save those for later in the tournament.
Takanosho vs Aoiyama – Big Dan Aoiyama is still hurt, as he was in September. So with a 0-2 start, I expect him to continue to donate white stars on a daily basis. Today, it’s probably Takanosho’s turn to push Aoiyama about and out in short order. He has won 3 of their prior 5 contests.
Abi vs Tochinoshin – Oh goodie, someone that Abi will have to work quite hard to defeat. Tochinoshin is always day to day given what has happened to that knee, but he’s got the bulk and the experience to shut down Abi-zumo and give him a solid toss for his first black mark of Kyushu. A win today for Abi would clear one of the few real hurdles he might face ranked this low.
Endo vs Takarafuji – Take two ailing rikishi with loyal followings. Check that both have no wins, and put them together and see who is least damaged. Ah, sumo, you glorious bastard of a sport.
Myogiryu vs Ryuden – Both men come into day three with 1-1 scores, and I would like to see Ryuden pick up this win today. He’s got a tough route to make it back in the joi-jin for 2023, and he’s going to have to over-perform is average if he wants to make it work. Myogiryu is no pushover, and holds a 5-3 career advantage.
Hokutofuji vs Nishikigi – You might look at that match up and assume that over their career, Hokutofuji tends to dominate. But instead, its Nishikigi at 4-3 over Hokutofuji. I guess that thick battle-hug can sometime’s shut down Hokutofuji’s high-mobility attacks. Nodowa for the win sir.
Nishikifuji vs Sadanoumi – I am delighted to see Nishikifuji do well, but I have to wonder if maybe he stoll Terutsuyoshi’s mojo somehow. He’s up against normally quick Sadanoumi, who has not looked quick so far this November. Maybe he’s in need of a full front end alignment and lub-job. I am sure there are places in Fukuoka that can supply that.
Ura vs Wakamotoharu – Ah, grim! Ura is looking kind of lethargic right now, and most of his gizmos and gadget moves are not to be found, or not having a positive effect. This means that 1-1 Wakamotoharu has ample opportunity to cuddle up, get a hold and just grind Ura into the dirt.
Midorifuji vs Kiribayama – Kiribayama lost day 2 to Wakatakakage, but if you watch that fight again, look at how dominant his sumo is. I am eager to see him try that with Midorifuji, who is small enough to out maneuver Kiribayama in an even fight. Both men are 1-1, and have a total 1-1 career record.
Tamawashi vs Tobizaru – One of these days, September yusho winner Tamawashi is going to get his first win. Will it be today against Tobizaru? Probably not in my estimate. Right now Tobizaru seems to have gained a new grade of stability under pressure, which was typically his biggest weakness. It will be put to the test today, as Tamawashi can hit like a truck carrying a gorilla who is holding a shark that is biting a baseball bat.
Ichinojo vs Hoshoryu – Oh good, it’s time for Hoshoryu to fight the Snorlax. Just don’t wake him up and it will be ok, Hoshoryu. Sadly for Hoshoryu, Ichinojo’s 7-5 career record indicated he does tend to wake up, and fight well.
Wakatakakage vs Meisei – Wakatakakage picked up his first win on day 2, which is outside the norm for him. Maybe it indicates he is going to be strong in act one, which is less common than it should be for him. he has a 5-3 record against 0-2 Meisei, so as long as he is ready to fight, Wakatakakage should take his second win today.
Daieisho vs Mitakeumi – Big thrusting Daieisho vs hard hitting Mitakeumi, with Mitakeumi needing 10 wins this tournament to return to Ozeki. We know Mitakeumi tends to run out of energy in week two, so I applaud him pouring on the power up front. He has a 14-9 career advantage over 1-1 Daieisho, so he knows how to get it done.
Kotonowaka vs Shodai – Why, why is Shodai 0-5 against Kotonowaka? Is it Kotonowaka’s odd chest configuration? Does he smell like something that strikes fear into Shodai’s base radish form? Does Shodai owe him money? What’s going on here? Why am I asking so many questions? Shodai needs 7 more wins out of the remaining 13 days in order to not be an Ozekiwake for Christmas.
Takakeisho vs Takayasu – If I could somehow send a message to Takayasu, it would be “keep your feet heavy to stay in this fight”. When fighting hard, Takayasu tends to disrupt his own lateral balance, and end up on one foot. Doing that today against Takayasu will earn him a frequent flyer bonus, which nobody wants to see. The have a 19 match career record, favoring Takakeisho 10-9.