Kyushu Day 11 Preview

Ready or not, act 3 here we come. Act 3 is all about the yusho race, and sorting everyone into make-koshi and kachi-koshi. One of the first jobs of act 3 is to take the two men at the top of the leader board, and try to get them dirty. An additional loss each would add a lot of interest to the rest of the tournament, though a fresh face hoisting the Emperor’s Cup is always a possibility. Only one rikishi with prior yusho experience, Takakeisho, is even in the race, and he is 2 wins behind the leaders. Possible, but unlikely.

On the Ozeki subject, Shodai is 2 losses away from following Mitakeumi into the purgatory of Ozekiwake, leaving only one Ozeki (Takakeisho) still competing in the sport. Given that Shodai does not seem to be able to summon his “good” sumo for any reason now, I think this outcome is increasingly likely. The bright spot is that Wakatakakage can still rally and get to double digits, keeping his Ozeki hopes alive.

Kyushu Leaderboard

While we have what passes for a leader board, the overwhelming bulk of the rikishi corps are struggling in the middle of the score range. It’s possible there could be a Darwin list of almost biblical proportions on Sunday.

Leaders: Hoshoryu, Oho
Chasers: Takayasu, Nishikifuji
Hunt Group: Takakeisho, Ryuden, Abi, Kagayaki, Hiradoumi

5 matches remain

What We Are Watching Day 11

Kotoeko vs Ichiyamamoto – After having a good start, Kotoeko (5-5) has lost 3 of the last 4, and is squarely on the line between winning and losing. He’s got 6-4 Ichiyamamoto, who is himself close to the center-line for November. They have had 3 prior matches this year, and Kotoeko won 2 of them.

Azumaryu vs Kotoshoho – Another pair who are straddling the line between winning and losing. It’s 6-4 Azumaryu, who is looking for his first ever kachi-koshi in the top division, if he can just find 2 more wins. He’s got a 2-4 career deficit against 5-5 Kotoshoho, who has lost his last 2 matches.

Onosho vs Hiradoumi – A first every match, and the door is open for 7-3 Hiradoumi to pick up his kachi-koshi, his first ever in the top division. He needs to overcome 6-4 Onosho’s big forward power thrusts, which are brutally effective so long as he can keep his feet.

Kagayaki vs Chiyoshoma – These two have a 20 match career history which favors 7-3 Kagayaki by 12-8. Chiyoshoma has not been fighting well, and at only 4-6 he is likewise close the the win/lose line, needing 4 wins out of the final 5 to achieve a winning record. A Kagayaki win today would be kachi-koshi.

Oho vs Abi – A big match for the day, as 7-3 Abi has won both prior matches against 9-1 Oho. An Oho loss today would likely knock him out of the leader group, and either leave Hoshoryu alone at the front of the yusho race, or possible allow Takayasu or Nishikifuji to enter the fray.

Takanosho vs Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi is still on course for the incredibly rare zenpai finish (perfect 0-15), but has a 5-1 career advantage over 3-7 Takanosho. Takanosho is well motivated, as his next loss will be his 8th, and a make-koshi for November.

Atamifuji vs Tochinoshin – Likewise in the 3-7 camp is newcomer Atamifuji, who has his first ever match against 4-6 Tochinoshin. We did get to see Tochinoshin lift and carry Terutsuyoshi on day 10, but I think it’s asking too much for Atamifuji to receive the sky-cane treatment today.

Takarafuji vs Okinoumi – Also in the running for a rare zenpai is 0-10 Takarafuji. He faces 5-5 Okinoumi, who really could use the win. I have to wonder, if you have two rikishi with zensho scores at the end of 15 days, they have a final match to determine who comes out on top. Will they do the same if Terutsuyoshi and Takarafuji both finish 0-15?

Aoiyama vs Sadanoumi – A pair of 4-6 rikishi face off today, with one being pushed to the brink of make-koshi. Aoiyama holds a narrow 11-9 lead across their 20 match career record, but he is not anything close to his normal power and intensity. So this is going to come down to Sadanoumi being able to withstand the bashing Big Dan will deliver long enough to get inside, get a grip, and control the match.

Wakamotoharu vs Myogiryu – Yet another match at the win/lose center line. We have Wakamotoharu at 5-5, who has had some very good matches this month, against 6-4 Myogiryu. Wakamotoharu has never lost to Myogiryu, so I think he will come into this fight with a distinct edge.

Ura vs Endo – I would not be surprised if Ura (2-8) does not get another win this tournament. He’s not fighting at anything close to his normal ability, and so he is struggling quite a bit. In addition, I think Endo (4-6) is less damaged than Ura is, and could really use the win.

Ichinojo vs Kotonowaka – Sadly, 2-8 Ichinojo is having another terrible tournament, and he’s not had much success (1-5) winning against Kotonowaka, so I am looking for the top man in Sadogatake to pick up his 7th win today.

Takayasu vs Nishikifuji – This is one way to shape the leader board. Take both men in second place with 8-2 records, and have them compete to leave just one to challenge. Should Oho lose today, it would give me great delight to see him fight either of these men tomorrow. This is their first ever match, and I doubt Nishikifuji can adequately train would be to stand outside the Isegahama stable while the okamisan drove a mini-truck into him repeatedly for an hour.

Ryuden vs Kiribayama – I have no doubt that 6-4 Kiribayama will get his 8 wins this November. I think this is one of those tournaments where he just needs to hold tight and focus on improving his sumo. He’s not won against 7-3 Ryuden in two attempts, though he may be able to break through today and score his 7th win. A Ryuden victory would be kachi-koshi for him.

Tamawashi vs Nishikigi – High time for 3-7 Tamawashi to rally. He’s never lost to 4-6 Nishikigi, who’s deliberate yotsu-zumo makes him an easy mark for Tamawashi. I think an early thrusting attack followed by a nodowa and a quick run out of the ring for today.

Meisei vs Daieisho – Another match of two rikishi squarely in the middle band of scores with Meisei at 6-4, and Daieisho at 4-6. Daieisho has the overwhelming lead in the series, at 10-2, so I am going to assume he will take the win today, and keep himself closer to the win/loss center line.

Tobizaru vs Midorifuji – Two rikishi at 5-5, and it’s a wonderful match up between two high energy, high mobility rikishi. Midorifuji is on a 3 match winning streak, so he may have a bit of an edge today, in addition to his narrow 2-1 career lead.

Mitakeumi vs Hoshoryu – A bigger match than it might seem, given 4-6 Mitakeumi has lost any chance to regain his Ozeki rank. But he can still play spoiler if he can muster enough energy to give co-leader Hoshoryu (9-1) the business today. He has won 3 of their 4 matches on the clay, and although Mitakeumi only seems to be operating at about 80% of his normal power, I would like to think he could win this one.

Wakatakakage vs Shodai – Another match that is actually bigger than it might appear. With Ozeki hopeful Wakatakakage at 6-4, and kadoban Ozeki Shodai at 4-6, who wins and who loses this match will determine much for 2023. A Shodai loss puts him one away from giving up his Ozeki rank, while at the same time advancing Wakatakakage’s bid to take up that same rank. I know Shodai is capable of winning this match, as their career record favors him 6-4, but something is wrong with him, and there is no telling what.

Takakeisho vs Hokutofuji – Amazingly these two have fought 23 times going back to 2016 when Takakeisho (7-3) was Sato and Hokutofuji (6-4) was Daiki. In spite of the fact one became an Ozeki and the other has never been ranked higher than Komusubi, Takakeisho only holds a 13-10 career lead. They are both oshi-zumo practitioners, so this match could feature a lot big hits and painful impacts.

5 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 11 Preview

  1. I can just see the Banzuke committee meeting…..
    “Umm, what we gonna do ???”
    “Wakatakakage’s looking promising…”
    “What about Shodai??”
    “Wakatakakage’s looking promising..”
    “Yeah, but Shodai…”
    “Wakatakakage’s got a good chance..”
    “Yeah, but S…”
    “SHUDDUP ABOUT BLOODY SHODAI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    • Ether that or they’re sining:

      The Mamas and The Papas California Dreamin Parody
      All the leaves are brown
      all the leaves are brown
      And the sky is gray
      and the sky is gray
      2 Ozeki missing
      On such a winters day

  2. From my perspective, this sumo Era is much exciting then, solo Yokozuna leading and mostly winning the Yusho.
    The existing scenario creates suspense and excitement about who could win the Yusho.
    It also motivates the rikishis from lower banzuke to try hard and compete for the Yusho.

  3. I might be wrong but I kind of see a narrative that goes like wakatakagage good/ hoshoryu bad. The nephew has all it takes to be the perfect foe: he is spiteful, a bit full of himself, generally good but un afraid to take the occasional side step. Wakatakage channels a bit of chiyonofuji ring presence. Future looks bright!

    • I don’t think of Hoshoryu as bad. I think he was under a lot of pressure from his uncle to be macho-macho man, and so has developed a bit of tough guy ring persona, but he looks like a cheerful nerd in some of his other photos. I may be biased because I admire his variety of interesting techniques.

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