Abbreviated preview (posted late to boot) as work has overflowed into writing time.
What We Are Watching Day 6
Mitoryu vs Oho – Mitoryu should win this, he has a 6-0 record against Oho, even though Oho has a slightly better score
Shonannoumi vs Bushozan – Today’s Juryo visitor is Shonannoumi, who has drawn Bushozan as an opponent. Bushozan is suffering a 1-4 score right now, and may as well have himself ready to resume a Juryo rank for May. They have split their 2 prior matches at 1-1.
Daishoho vs Hokuseiho – Hokuseiho will be looking to bounce back after his day 5 loss to Ichinojo, which frankly was a great match for Hokuseiho. He will have to best Ichinojo at least once every two months for the foreseeable future, and he may as well figure out the Snorlax early. He has a 1-2 career deficit against 3-2 Daishoho, so this match is not an easy one for Hokuseiho.
Kinbozan vs Kotoeko – Both start the day at 4-1, with that one loss for Kinbozan being to Hokuseiho on day 3. Barring some injury, I expect Kinbozan to reach his 8th win before the final weekend, and secure his spot in the top division for a few tournaments to come. He faces 4-1 Kotoeko for the first time. I am looking for a lot of mobility in this match, as both like to stay in motion.
Tsurugisho vs Takarafuji – Takarafuji’s injury or injuries continue to be the headline item for his sumo, and I think he’s going to struggle to put up much of a challenge to an apparently healthy Tsurugisho at 3-2.
Azumaryu vs Chiyoshoma – When you have a rikishi with passable sumo skills like Azumaryu open with a 0-5 record, there is likely an injury or a distracting personal distraction somewhere in the mix. We don’t know what sapped Azumaryu’s sumo, but I am sure he misses it. He does have a 7-1 career lead against 3-2 Chiyoshoma, so maybe some hope after all.
Myogiryu vs Kagayaki – Both men are 3-2 at the start of the day, and are fighting at least one notch lower than what we are used to seeing from them. Their career record is 5-6, so it’s an even fight on paper.
Aoiyama vs Nishikifuji – First ever match, where co-leader Nishikifuji is going against Big Dan at 3-2. The rub being that Aoiyama is probably injured as well, and has not been fighting forward at all. Given Nishikifuji’s agility and compact body, he may give Aoiyama a lot of trouble.
Takanosho vs Hiradoumi – Takanosho won their only prior match, on day 9 of Aki 2022. I add to that that thus far Takanosho is 4-1, and fighting well enough to earn at least 8 wins this tournament. Maybe he’s ready to resume is work in the higher ranks later this year.
Hokutofuji vs Ura – Sure, Hokutofuji is not really fighting up to his typical levels right now, but when these two fight it’s always a fun match. Hokutofuji is one of just a handful of rikishi who don’t seem to be intimidated but Ura’s antics. I am looking forward to a straight ahead battle between these two.
Ichiyamamoto vs Takayasu – Well, no good way to explain this apart from saying Ichiyamamoto is 0-5, Takayasu is 5-0. Its their first ever match, and as long as Takayasu does not put himself off balance with his wild man sumo, this should be an easy win for him.
Endo vs Midorifuji – I suspect Endo likes a match that makes him think, and makes him hone his attack plan to a razor’s edge. This should be one of these matches as he takes on 5-0 Midorifuji, who beat him on day 14 of Kyushu, their only prior match.
Sadanoumi vs Meisei – I like Sadanoumi’s sumo, and it’s kind of sad to see him 1-4 starting day 6, a record he shares with Meisei. I am not sure who is going to come out on top of this one, as both are off their game at the moment, and are likely looking at make-koshi down the road.
Abi vs Kotoshoho – A healthy Abi vs a healthy Kotoshoho is a high interest match. But against an 0-5 battle damaged Kotoshoho, it’s a real yawner, I would guess. Abi won 2 prior matches, but the match on day 13 of Hatsu went to Kotoshoho.
Tamawashi vs Shodai – The Shodai hype train took a siding on day 5 when he lost against red-hot Daieisho. But today is a fresh day, and all he has to do is withstand Tamawashi’s brutal thrusting attacks. They share a 24 career match record that favors Shodai 14-10.
Wakamotoharu vs Tobizaru – Both men are ranked Komusubi, and have match 3-2 scores. It’s a great clash of sumo styles, with Tobizaru using high agility, unpredictable combos. Wakamotoharu is high stamina, high strength yotsu-zumo. Could be an interesting match.
Daieisho vs Kotonowaka – I would love to see Kotonowaka win this fight, as his 5-1 career advantage would indicate he could, but right now Daieisho is setting the pace for the entire top division, and may be able to pick up wins just on his momentum alone.
Onosho vs Hoshoryu – We will get to find out if Hoshoryu’s elbow is damaged following that Nishikigi kotonage on day 5. We all hope that he’s healthy given that he will need to endure a lot of frontal power from Onosho’s sumo today. They have an even 3-4 record.
Wakatakakage vs Ryuden – These two guys have just 1 win between them, and 9 losses. Normally this would be a high interest fight, but right now it’s a struggle between two injured men.
Kiribayama vs Nishikigi – I am expecting Kiribayama to have to work to evade Nishikigi’s persistent attempts to grapple and bring his opponents to his chest. If Kiribayama can stay mobile and avoid capture, he should be able to take this match.
Mitakeumi vs Takakeisho – In a different universe, this is a grand Ozeki battle between the Original Tadpole and the Grand Tadpole. But in this time line, it’s a fading Mitakeumi at Maegashira 3, and a struggling Ozeki that everyone hope can at least clear 8 wins by a week from Sunday.