Osaka Day 4 Preview

Somehow, at the end of day three, the rikishi corps managed to sort itself into an odd configuration. There are 9 men at 3-0, and there are 10 men who are at 0-3. Taken as a whole, almost half of the top division has a perfect losing, or perfect winning record. To anyone who likes numbers, as I am guessing the torikumi group seems to, this is either as annoying as fingernails on a chalk board, or as amusing as a new kinetic puzzle to play with. As a result, there are a slew of fun number patterns in today’s fight card, and frankly I deeply appreciate it.

What We Are Watching Day 4

Hokuseiho vs Mitoryu – This looks like a lopsided match up on paper, because frankly I think it is. Beyond the fact that fighting Hokuseiho is akin to fighting cement mixer for most of these guys, Mitoryu looks about as genki as a pot of week old chanko right now. So I expect there to be little fanfare as 3-0 Hokuseiho calmly deploys the gifts the almighty gave him, and Hakuho helped him refine, to win today against 0-3 Mitoryu.

Chiyonokuni vs Oho – Chiyonokuni is today’s Juryo vistor, and it’s a battle of the 0-3 walking wounded to see which one of them is slightly less terrible than the other one is. I am sure there are some segments of the sumo fan base who are excited for this kind of fight, but I find it rather sad. For both of the prior matches, Oho has been the winner, but with him fighting so poorly, who can tell for today.

Daishoho vs Chiyoshoma – Out of the first three matches, this one looks the best to me. We have 3-0 Daishoho fighting against 2-1 Chiyoshoma. Both of these rikishi are fighting pretty well right now, and I think this has the potential to be an interesting fight. They last fought back in 2020 in Juryo, and Chiyoshoma took both matches that year.

Tsurugisho vs Kotoeko – I don’t think that we are suddenly seeing a burst of sumo excellence from Tsurugisho, but he is part of the elite 3-0 club that starts day 4. He is comfortably in “his brand of sumo” right now, and I think it’s 2-1 Kotoeko’s job to disrupt that comfort today. He has won 3 of the last 4 matches against Tsurugisho, as part of their overall 8-9 career record.

Kagayaki vs Bushozan – Kagayaki has a dismal 0-3 start to Osaka, and now it’s possible he has a hurt right elbow as well following his day three fight against Daishoho. Bushozan, for his part, seems to be struggling a bit to adapt to the top division, and has only managed a single win so far resulting in a 1-2 score to start today. They have split their 4 prior matches.

Kinbozan vs Takarafuji – As it has been for most of the past year, its going to be painful to watch 1-2 Takarafuji for the next 12 days. Clearly whatever injury limiting his sumo is still active, and he’s going to struggle daily to execute the kind of defensive sumo he has been famous for. It’s his first ever match with new comer; 2-1 Kinbozan, who would benefit greatly from the experience.

Aoiyama vs Takanosho – Both men start day four with 2-1 scores. They are fairly evenly matched, with Takanosho possibly having a slight edge, as Aoiyama seems to be diminished from his form as recently as last year. I expect that if “Big Dan” can get a thrusting attack going, he might carry the day, so long as Takanosho cannot get inside and drive him back. They share a 4-3 career record.

Azumaryu vs Hiradoumi – Azumaryu is another member of the inauspicious 0-3 club, and will continue to try and find his first win somewhere. He has never lost to 1-2 Hiradoumi, so today’s fight may represent his best chance of picking up his first white star.

Ichiyamamoto vs Nishikifuji – Likewise, Ichiyamamoto has no wins as well at 0-3, and he has his best shot at a first win by facing 3-0 Nishikifuji, who has only beaten him once in six attempts. With any luck, Ichiyamamoto has his balance dialed in now, and can better apply maximum forward thrust against his opponents.

Myogiryu vs Ura – Ura (3-0) has been showing us some of his best sumo of the past year so far, and its time to put him to a bit of a test. He has only faced Myogiryu twice, but he has lost both matches. Granted, one of them was back in 2017, and Myogiryu is slogging about at a miserable 1-2 right now. If there was ever a good time for Ura to put a win in his column against Myogiryu, this is that day.

Kotoshoho vs Takayasu – In what seems to be a bit of a theme today, we have the winless facing the undefeated. That’s 3-0 Takayasu taking on 0-3 Kotoshoho for this match near the middle of the torikumi. They have had 4 prior matches, that they split 2-2. I don’t see Kotoshoho rallying today, but maybe it could happen. For now Takayasu seems to be content to keep his “wild man sumo” in the shed, and focus on fundamentals. Good!

Hokutofuji vs Midorifuji – Keeping with the theme, its 0-3 Hokutofuji against 2-0 Midorifuji in an “all fuji battle”. Who am I kidding, Midorifuji is in far better condition than Hokutofuji right now.

Onosho vs Sadanoumi – Say, this pattern works with other scores too! It’s 2-1 Onosho facing off against 1-2 Sadanoumi. Onosho should win this one, further degrading Sadanoumi’s already sad score. For a while I thought Sadanoumi was going to be a joi-jin regular, but it seems that his sumo is not going to be able to support that this year. Onosho holds a 5-2 career advantage.

Endo vs Meisei
Career Record (7-3[-1]) : We you have a good thing, why not keep it going? It’s 2-1 Endo vs 1-2 Meisei. I think Endo had a bit of luck day 3 against Hokutofuji, and that may not hold true against Meisei today. Meisei’s sumo right now is not looking like his best, and I think he’s going to struggle all the way to act 3, and possibly enter day 15 at 7-7.

Daieisho vs Mitakeumi – The history would indicate that Mitakeumi (1-2) should have an edge against 3-0 Daieisho. In spite of a brilliant 5 seconds of sumo on day 3, I don’t think Mitakeumi’s body healthy or strong enough right now to put up much of a contest to a genki Daieisho.

Nishikigi vs Kotonowaka – Nishikigi has yet to find his first win, starting today at 0-3. He’s not a terrible rikishi, but he is clearly near the top of his competitive range right now, and all it would take would be a minor injury to reduce him to little more than practice ballast. I think 2-1 Kotonowaka is going to dispatch him today without too much trouble.

Ryuden vs Tobizaru – Back to our favorite pattern, is 0-3 Ryuden up against giant killer 3-0 Tobizaru. Let me just declare, if Tobizaru takes home the Emperor’s cup this tournament, I am going to abandon all hope and declare that we are in fact in the bizzaro universe.

Kiribayama vs Wakamotoharu – There are a lot of amusing match ups for day 4, but to me this is the first interesting match up of day 4. Both of these guys are solid, young, relatively healthy competitors who would very much like to rule the roost in the san’yaku. They both start the day with 2-1 records, and both of them are accomplished in multiple attack forms.

Tamawashi vs Hoshoryu – This is the second interesting match, in that both of them are flight out fighters. They attack without quarter, and tend to favor offense over defense in their sumo. They both are 1-2 at the start of the day, and I think this will feature a lot of power oshi-zumo. Note that Hoshoryu has a 6-3 career lead.

Wakatakakage vs Shodai – Given 0-3 Wakatakakage’s condition, I don’t think we are going to see him putting up much of a fight against a surprisingly genki 2-1 Shodai today. Wakatakakage seems to be mostly going through the motions, without having the energy or power to make his sumo work the way he expects it to.

Abi vs Takakeisho – Both men start today’s final match at 2-1, and both of them will try to push the other one clear off of the dohyo. Given Abi’s superior reach, this should not even be a contest, but out of their 8 prior matches, the short-armed Ozeki has managed to take 3 wins. I note that Abi has only lost one out of six matches against Takakeisho in the last 3 years.

8 thoughts on “Osaka Day 4 Preview

  1. Hi Bruce, as always, great coverage and insights, thx.

    That being said, I’ll take the following for the wins on day 4:
    Kotoshoho – He’s 0-3 but I have a bad feeling that The Bear can’t help himself and will resort to that loss ensuring stupid Wild Man Sumo.routine
    Tobizaru – The Monkey is on fire right now
    Wakamotoharu – Except for standing straight upright on day 3 he’s been solid and smart
    Hoshoryu – Hoping he’s done enough of the stupid Sumo and gets back to solid ass-kicking Sumo
    Wakatakakage – He needs to put the bus in gear and get going
    Abi – Only because Butterball has no solution for him

  2. In yesterday’s results post, I commented that Takakeisho’s loss on the first day wouldn’t matter if Takakeisho gets 14 wins. Andy asked me what probability I’d give to that happening, so I thought I’d post my thoughts here to keep the conversation going.

    Honestly, looking at the banzuke, I don’t know who Takakeisho is afraid of on paper. Maybe Tamawashi, Kiribayama, Wakamotoharu, Daiesho, and Onosho if we go down to M4? Out of those five, who do you pick to win against Takakeisho more often than not? Shodai is in peak form and Takakeisho treated him like a bag of garbage he was taking out to the bin.

    Abi is the puzzle that has to be solved, sure, but with Takakeisho already motivated to win and Abi not looking incredibly effective (he won today because Wakatakakage is in bad form and not because Abi blew his opponent off of the dohyo). So, we’ll see.

    Takayasu has to win a lot and even then, he won’t even get a sniff of Takakeisho until at least the middle of the second week because he’s down at M7.

    Honestly, this is it for Takakeisho and I think he knows it. For probability, I’ll go a bit higher than I originally thought and say 14 wins is 70% likely.

    • For a 70% probability of winning all 12 remaining bouts, the math says he’d have to be something like a 32:1 favorite in each one. Seems improbably high.

  3. Hi, I was expecting a preview of the big one: Asanoyama vs Ichinojo !!
    Any thought, anyone?

    • After watching that match, it sure showed where Asanoyama is at. Obviously it won’t hurt him much at all, as he’s a fairly certain bet for promotion. But this talk of him waltzing back to ozeki should slow down a bit.

      • You may be right that re-promotion to ozeki will not just be a simple waltz for Asanoyama. However, let’s keep in mind that Ichi’s presence in Juryo is also a bit of an anomaly due to suspension. After all, he won the Yusho in July and when fit has the ability to beat anyone – including once-and-future ozeki!

      • Asanoyama loss to Ichinojo is not a big surprise. As already mentioned Ichinojo won the Makuuchi yusho in last July while being ranked M2w, and has 9 kinboshi to date, which is more kinboshis than any active rikishi today have. Ichinojo would not be in Juryo, if he had not been suspended previous basho. For me this match was a toss-up to start with.

        Next basho is going to be interesting. As it looks now both Asanoyama and Ichinojo will be back to Makuuchi in May and will be in the low ranks. What a nice time for the Yokozuna to make a comeback.


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