Given how much fun day 1 was, I am eager to watch day 2. Now with the US swapping back to daylight savings time, it’s even tougher to stay up and watch any upper division matches. I guess that’s why I pay too much money for a DirecTV DVR.
I am eager to see if Onosho can pull out his first win against Midorifuji today. Onosho’s day 1 win was either a heads up that he’s on the march, or just a case of all of the right pieces falling into place. As a fan of all the Tadpole rikishi, I hope that he’s made a step change to his sumo, and will soon be a san’yaku mainstay.
Also, keep an eye on Wakamotoharu. He seems intent on keeping a low profile, but his sumo is amazingly consistent, in a good way. He may actually surpass his brother in terms of ability to hit kachi-koshi or above some time this year. I would be surprised if Wakamotoharu were considered for Ozeki ahead of Wakatakakage, but right now Wakamotoharu’s sumo seems a more likely vehicle to sumo’s second highest rank.
What We Are Watching Day 2
Chiyoshoma vs Mitoryu – Chiyoshoma looked “good enough” on day one, but struggled with the far bulkier Tsurugisho. Today he’s got an opponent more to his liking in Mitoryu, whom he has beaten in all five of their previous matches. Whats fun to see is the variety of kimarite that Chiyoshoma has used in his wins against Mitoryu: sotogake, hikiotoshi, shitatenage, sotogake (again) and then a yorikiri.
Tohakuryu vs Tsurugisho – Today’s Juryo visitor is J1W Tohakuryu, who has drawn Tsurugisho as his opponent. They are both 1-0 from day 1, and I would guess they are both in fairly good condition for the tournament. Tsurugisho has a 3-1 career lead over Tokakuryu, so I give him a slight edge today as well, but Tsurugisho has a predictable habit of trying a pull against him by the 4th step.
Kinbozan vs Oho – Oho is like that container of pasta salad in the grocery story refrigerated section. Full of creaming dressing? Not sure, but near some kind of expiration date, yes. He had a few good tournaments to get his sumo together at something better than Maegashira 15 levels, but he’s out of time now. A pack of high skill, big talent men are invading the lower rungs of the banzuke, and Oho is going to find himself challenged. He has phenom Kinbozan (1-0) today, who will likely give Oho a solid fight. This is their first ever match.
Hokuseiho vs Bushozan – Two of the high quality debutants meet again today, and this time it’s the human landmark that is Hokuseiho against Makushita stalwart Bushozan. Bushozan has not managed to win against Hokuseiho in three attempts. But then again, there are few who have.
Kagayaki vs Kotoeko – A pair of winless rikishi with a long, 19 match career record go head to head in the 5th match. Neither looked bad in their opening day matches, but they also did not look crisp either. Kotoeko has won all but one of their six matches since March of 2021, so I would give him an advantage today.
Daishoho vs Takarafuji – Both won their opening day matches, and readers know I am hoping that Takarafuji can keep his sumo going for the next 14 days. He did not look bad, but he also did not look as sharp and aggressive as he normally does. I note that he has a 2-0 record against Daishoho, so this might be a good match for him to pick up a second win.
Myogiryu vs Takanosho – Takanosho also won his opening day match, and I am looking to see if he has finally overcome the injury that sidelined him in July of last year, and seems to have been hampering his sumo ever since. Myogiryu comes into today at 0-1, but I don’t think he’s at any disadvantage today, given the pair’s even 5-5 career record.
Azumaryu vs Nishikifuji – Azumaryu was completely overwhelmed by Takanosho on day 1, and I do wonder if he’s going to be able to pick up a second kachi-koshi in the second top division before banzuke decay forces him back to Juryo in a few months. Nishikifuji is down 3-1 against Azumaryu across their 2 year career history.
Ichiyamamoto vs Hiradoumi – Both lost their opening day matches, with Ichiyamamoto falling prey to Ura’s ring’s edge magic. He will have no such challenge today, as Hiradoumi is about as straight ahead as you might want in an opponent. Ichiyamamoto also has a 3-1 career advantage.
Aoiyama vs Ura – I think this has the making of a great match up, as you have a somewhat diminished “Big Dan” trying to use his power sumo against one of the most evasive men in the sport. I am sure that Aoiyama can launch him into the front row should he manage to connect with his “V-Twin” attack. But that is a real challenge, for with Ura, we can know his location, or his direction of travel, but not both at the same time.
Endo vs Takayasu – This fight will be a nice test to see if Takayasu’s strong day 1 performance was just him being ready to fight, or if he really is showing up this March quite genki. Endo is not the threat he once was, but he is also no pushover. the two have a 9-14 career record, with Takayasu taking 8 of the last 10.
Hokutofuji vs Sadanoumi – Both lost their day 1 matches, thought Sadanoumi at least was moving fairly well. Hokutofuji looked as if he were expected a matta or something of the sort in his fight with Takayasu. I think he will have better fortune today, if he’s more dialed in today, as he holds a 5-2 career lead over Sadanoumi.
Onosho vs Midorifuji – Onosho looked focused and strong on day one. He Meisei no chance to actually fight, and just bundled him up and put him straight out of the ring. He may have a different day today, with Midorifuji as an opponent. Though both one their opening matches, Midorifuji holds a 2-0 lead against Onosho, who struggles with high agility opponents.
Kotoshoho vs Meisei – Both rikishi lost their opening day matches, and one of them will get their shonichi today. At Maegashira 5, I think Kotoshoho is likely to struggle this March. He has only won one match against Meisei in 4 attempts, and unless Meisei is fighting ring rust, he should be able to out maneuver Kotoshoho today.
Wakamotoharu vs Nishikigi – I wonder if this is going to be Wakamotoharu’s break out basho. He’s been fairly low profile climbing the ranks in a steady and methodical fashion, and now he is Koumsubi. This match has good potential, as we can safely assume both of them will try to fight chest to chest, though 0-1 Nishikigi has only won 1 match against Wakamotoharu out of their 5 prior fights.
Mitakeumi vs Tobizaru – Fresh from putting dirt on the highest ranking man in the tournament, Tobizaru is off to face a faltering Mitakeumi. Nothing about the former Ozeki seems right at the moment, and it would have to be down to injury for him to be this consistently weak. He can’t really generate or withstand much power during a match, and that could mean back, hips or the rest of his undercarriage. He has a 4-2 career lead over Tobizaru, but Tobizaru has won 2 of the last 3.
Ryuden vs Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka won his opening day match, and Ryuden lost. But I think this match is quite even, and I hope they fight well. Kotonowaka has a mass advantage, and Ryuden a height / reach advantage. Out of their 3 prior matches, Ryuden has won 2 of them, but Kotonowaka won their prior match in November.
Wakatakakage vs Daieisho – Daieisho comes in at 1-0, and he’s got a fair shot at dominating Wakatakakage today. For a time, Wakatakakage seemed like he was going to be the next power rikishi, but seems to only run in “hot” or “cold” modes, and tends to start a basho with a losing streak. The share a 6-5 record.
Kiribayama vs Shodai – I know a lot of readers are eager to see Kiribayama do well, but part of me wants the “good” Shodai to show up for 15 days and crack some heads. Fat chance, I think, but I can dream. A genki Shodai would cause a lot of problems in the upper ranks, especially for Takakeisho. Shodai leads the career series 8-5.
Abi vs Hoshoryu – After his day 1 spanking by Shodai, I think Hoshoryu is going to show up today and give Abi a proper spanking. It will come down to blunting Abi’s initial double hand attack, and getting him out of his usual battle rhythm. If Hoshoryu can do that, I see him expanding on his 5-1 career lead against Abi.
Tamawashi vs Takakeisho – Takakeisho’s day one loss to Tobizaru took much of the air out of his Yokozuna hype balloon. A loss to long term rival Tamawashi today could relegate it to the same compost pile where Shodai’s Ozeki rank and Mitakeumi’s sumo now lay decomposing. I have faith the Grand Tadpole can still get it together in time to prevail today, and on into the next week.