With the start of day 10, we have reached the end of act 2 of this marvelous basho. Act 2 is where we narrow the field to find out who has what it takes to compete for the yusho, and to start sorting the survivors from the damned. Unlike Kyushu where we ended act 2 without a clear picture of the yusho race, this one is easy to read. Ozeki Takakeisho is in the lead 8-1, without a credible threat near him in the yusho race. This is Takakeisho’s tournament to lose now, and he has plenty of incentives to stay out in front, and to run up the score. With the current Yokozuna in dry dock for refitting of his undercarriage, sumo is missing a grand champion. Who better to fill that slot than the “Grand Tadpole” himself?
While there has been no official word on the matter, the word is a dominant yusho might be enough to get the nod. His best ever finish was 13-2, which was his second yusho in November of 2020. The best he could achieve is a 14-1, if he can remain perfect for the final 6 days. I expect him to pick up at least one more loss, and the way sumo is today, maybe even 2 or more losses before the final day. Out of the san’yaku, he has only faced Wakamotoharu (day 1) whom he beat without too much fuss. That leaves as many Komusubi and Sekiwake as you might want to see, and his job is to beat them all, or as many as he can.
Frankly, I think him being promoted to Yokozuna before Osaka this year is unlikely, but then again, the sumo association may decide it’s time for another rope, and take care of business, as long as Takakeisho can finish strong.
I expect the leader board will thin quite a bit after today’s action.
Chasers: Kotoshoho, Onosho
Hunt Group: Hoshoryu, Daieisho, Tamawashi, Nishikigi, Ura, Aoiyama, Hiradoumi, Ichiyamamoto, Azumaryu, Takarafuji
6 Matches Remain
What We Are Watching Day 10
Daiamami vs Azumaryu – Today’s Juryo visitor is 2-7 Daiamami, who may have come to the top division to find his make-koshi. We know 6-3 Azumaryu is still hunting for his 8 wins, but has hit a soft spot, losing 2 of his last 3 matches. They share a 7-7 career record, with Azumaryu taking 2 of their 3 matches in 2022.
Kagayaki vs Kotoeko – Both of these guys are in the Darwin lane, and need to be careful before the find themselves with a 7-7 score at the end of day 14. We have 5-4 Kagayaki against 4-5 Kotoeko, with each of them wanting to try and navigate out of the middle. A Kotoeko win would put them both at 5-5, making escape quite difficult. Kagayaki has a 11-7 career advantage, but neither man has been winning with any kind of consistency.
Chiyoshoma vs Mitoryu – For Hatsu, Chiyoshoma’s sumo has become tiresome. Sure, he can win me back by fighting like someone with skill and dedication to the sport, which is not what he has shown the past handful of days. He has an unbeaten 4-0 career record against Mitoryu, so maybe he will have the confidence and fortitude to fight a straight-ahead match today. Both start Tuesday 3-6.
Ichiyamamoto vs Hiradoumi – Likewise, both men in this match are 8-3, with Ichiyamamoto holding an unbeaten 3-0 record against Hiradoumi. Two of those fights were in 2022, where both men were quite a bit lower on the banzuke. Both has strong winning records, but I would give a slight edge to Ichiyamamoto for today, given that he has won against some rather strong opponents in the last few days.
Takarafuji vs Endo – I am still looking for 6-3 Takarafuji to get his 8 wins, and remain in the top division for March. This is in spite of that crummy match against Chiyoshoma on day 9. Endo is at 5-4, and frequently struggles with Takarafuji’s brand of “defend and extend” sumo. I think it will come down to Endo’s left hand, and if he can stick a hold at the tachiai. If he gets that, we may see Takarafuji eat his 4th loss.
Tsurugisho vs Oho – Oho is the first top division man to reach make-koshi, now at 8-1. This has to be due to injury, in my opinion. If we accept that, there is now ay this poor fellow is going to be turning in a score better than double digit losses, I would think. At Maegashira 8, he is likely safe from demotion due to rank, and what looks like an absolute log jam of rikishi trying to pile on the Juryo barge of the damned. I do have to wonder, if is opponent, 3-6 Tsurugisho, will be able to keep his garment on today.
Kotoshoho vs Ura – Kotoshoho remains one win behind Takakeisho at 7-2, he’s kind of pretty far down the banzuke to really challenge for the up, and I think they wanted to give him some tougher opponents to see if maybe he’s gotten suddenly much better than he has been for a while. Who better than 6-3 Ura, who recently slipped up and cast one of his space-time altering spells in front of the public while in the middle of a match. He has 3 wins against Kotoshoho, and zero losses.
Hokutofuji vs Aoiyama – AT 5-4, there still a fair chance that Hokutofuji can achieve “The most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo”, as is his custom. But he’s got a 14-2 record of winning against 6-3 Aoiyama, and taking his beer money. That’s no way to go 7-8, sir.
Chiyomaru vs Myogiryu – What he hell is M16W Chiyomaru (2-7) doing this far up the torikumi? A loss today against 3-6 Myogiryu means make-koshi for him, and a boarding pass to that Juryo barge mentioned above. It’s a shame as I really wanted Chiyomaru to stick around for a bit. The two share a 5-5 record.
Takanosho vs Nishikigi – At 4-5, Takanosho is another strong candidate to end up 7-7 at the end of day 14, and I can see him qualifying for a Darwin match given how hit or miss his sumo has been. I certainly hope to see newly re-motored Nishikigi (6-3) get his 8, and end up in the joi-jin in March. All he needs are a couple of additional wins.
Nishikifuji vs Onosho – The past few days have seen Nishikifuji (3-6) fighting with immense ferocity. He has not been winning matches, mind you, but he’s fighting like a mad man. Perhaps his task today is to go straight up “Tasmanian Devil” on 7-2 Onosho, pushing him further back behind the Grand Tadpole by handing him a 3rd loss.
Abi vs Ryuden – Ah, Abi. Four straight losses to put you at 5-4. It’s kind of sad, and it probably means you got hurt somewhere in there. I would like to see you come roaring back, but here you are against another 5-4 guy, Ryuden. Ryuden as frankly been fighting much better than Abi has, and I would favor him to take this match.
Tamawashi vs Daieisho – Both of them start the day at 6-3, and this has the makings of a very good fight. They are both the kind of rikishi who can and will put a lot of forward power into their thrusts, and I think one of them is going to end up airborne The 13-9 match record indicates that Tamawashi tends to come out winner, and he took 5 of their 6 matches in 2022.
Tobizaru vs Wakamotoharu – If Takakeisho manages to finish 14-1, his only loss would be on day 2 to Tobizaru. That’s normally enough to get some consideration for a special prize, but given his sad 3-6 record, I don’t think we will see him with one of those trophies on senshuraku. He does hold a 7-3 career advantage over 5-4 Wakamotoharu, but Tobizaru’s sumo this past week has been too hectic, too chaotic, and too impotent to deliver wins.
Mitakeumi vs Kotonowaka – Both men are 5-4, and both are setting a solid course for the Darwin pool on day 15. The winner will get a chance to escape with a win tomorrow, the loser will sink to 5-5. Mitakeumi has beaten Kotonowaka only once in 6 attempts, with Kotonowaka playing an active role in Mitakeumi’s doom for the last 6 months.
Kiribayama vs Hoshoryu – I do hope that 6-3 Hoshoryu’s foot injury was mild, and that he can return to action today. He’s well back of the leader, Takakeisho, at this point, but I think he’s got a fair chance to hit double digits this January. He’s got a 6-4 career lead over 5-4 Kiribayama. Hoshoryu has won 3 of their 5 matches in 2022.
Wakatakakage vs Sadanoumi – I think 2-7 Sadanoumi is taking a tremendous beating right now, and has found himself as a projectile many times during act 2. Given 5-4 Wakatakakage’s ability to impart a lot of momentum into his opponents, so the chances are better thane even that yet against Sadanoumi may get another fly by on a salt basket today, on his way to a make-koshi. Wakatakakage has won all of their 4 prior matches.
Midorifuji vs Shodai – While 3-6 Shodai’s Ozeki rank is long gone, he can still make it to kachi-koshi, at least mathematically. We saw a flash of the “good” Shodai on day 9. Maybe he’s got enough juice left to save a scrap of dignity, and diverge from the path that Mitakeumi took in November down into the rank and file. He has split the prior two matches with 5-4 Midorifuji.
Meisei vs Takakeisho – Meisei (3-6) can surprise on any given day, but I think that’s quite unlikely to happen in his match today against tournament leader, 8-1 Takakeisho. Meisei has won 4 of their 11 prior matches, so he will find it tough to overcome the odds and upset the Ozeki.
6 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 10 Preview”
However there is a complication – if Hoshoryu is kyujo or if he does not get a good score and with Wakatakakage not in a promotable position, no matter what Takakeisho does, he cannot be promoted to Yokozuna because there needs to be at least one Ozeki. It will be interesting what happens if Takakeisho wins and there are no promotable Rikishi to Ozeki rank.
This isn’t true at all, all you need is at least 2 Yokozuna and/or Ozeki(I remain unconvinced that that is truly a requirement, but that’s another story)
Hiradoumi is impressing the hell out of me. Only 22, but has almost 200 bouts under his mawashi (if you see what I mean) and appears to have been accumulating quite the knowledge bank. Some really calm and cultured responses to awkward situations.
just quietly, Wakamotoharu is totally on for Seikiwake rn, with Hosh, Takayasu and Shodai likely to lose the rank, Wkmth could probably rank up with a 9-6 or 10-5…?
Kiribayama is ahead of him in line, and of course normally there are only two.
I know I am in the minority, but I just am not a fan of Takakeisho. To me, and my sister, he seems to have a limited bench of techniques. We tend to favor the guys who will get in and grab the belt, those who have a deep technique bench. I will grant that he seems to have matured since he became an Ozeki, a bit less swagger and more sportsmanship.
I know it won’t last, and would never happen, but is so nice to Ura listed in the Hunt Pack. Love our man in pink. Always hoping to see some rare technique from him.
I’m hoping, now that the pressure is off, Shodai can find his center and return to solid sumo. It’s been heartbreaking watching him struggle. My sister and I both swore that he looked different in the day 9 bout – his expression and attitude seemed more “normal”.