Osaka Day 7 Preview

It’s the start of the middle weekend, when we will start to track the yusho race and the sorting of rikishi into winning and losing records. We have three rikishi with unbeaten scores: Daieisho, Midorifuji, and Takayasu:

  • Daieisho – A prior yusho in January of 2021, a jun-yusho in May of 2022. If he keeps rolling, he is the man to beat.
  • Midorifuji – He has not turned in a score about 10-5 ever in the top division, and I expect he will fade into week 2 as the pressure of the race comes into focus. He’s one to keep an eye on for the future
  • Takayasu – 7 jun-yusho, never took home the cup. His fans are constantly frustrated because he always comes up short in the second week. He has lost in two yusho playoffs in the past year

All three of them have solid matches today, with Takayasu and Midorifuji going head to head to narrow the unbeaten gang to no more than 2.

What We Are Watching Day 7

Tsurugisho vs Oho – Although their 2-3 career record describes a close match, Oho (2-4) seems completely off his sumo right now, and Tsurugisho (4-2) seems to have things running pretty well. I would expect this one to go to Tsurugisho.
Career Record (2-3) :
[Tsurugisho 4-2] Shikona: 剣翔 | Heya: Oitekaze | Hometown: Tokyo | Size: 182 cm 191 kg
[Oho 2-4] Shikona: 王鵬 | Heya: Otake | Hometown: Tokyo | Size: 191 cm 170 kg

Kinbozan vs Chiyomaru – Today’s Juryo visitor is none other than fan favorite Chiyomaru. One of the roundest men in sumo, he is always a crowd pleaser. Sadly right now he has a terrible 0-6 score, and is likely headed deep into make-koshi territory. Paired with a rather genki Kinbozan, it’s a recipe for a 0-7 score for Chiyomaru today.

Mitoryu vs Kotoeko – Kotoeko’s win against newcomer Kinbozan on day 6 was quite impressive. He now is starting the middle weekend with a 5-1 record, and is part of the group that is 1 back from the leaders. He won’t face too much of a challenge from flagging Mitoryu, who has only found 2 wins out of the first six days.

Daishoho vs Bushozan – Bushozan (1-5) had the bad luck of picking up some kind of injury in the weeks leading up to his top division debut. He has been working hard, steadily plugging away for several years to reach to Makuuchi, and shows up unable to really execute sumo his way. He has won 5 out of 6 against 4-2 Daishoho, who I think will be able to improve his score today.

Kagayaki vs Chiyoshoma – Ah, that day six henka still has me feeling unsettled about Chiyoshoma. This used to be an everyday thing for him: have a sumo match, use a henka. But in recent years he has been trying to fight actual sumo, and getting mixed results. Maybe he’s decided to go back to his roots, which are to be a slimy devil. Kagayaki has a 14-8 career lead, so maybe he will be able to take care of Chiyoshoma today.

Hokuseiho vs Takanosho – Since starting 4-0, Hokuseiho has lost back to back matches on days five and six. I hope he is not having some sort of crisis of confidence and will endure a protracted losing streak. He is up against fellow 4-2 record Takanosho, fighting him for the first time.

Azumaryu vs Takarafuji – This is probably Azumaryu’s best chance at a win. Takarafuji looks to be in no condition to compete right now. He can’t hold ground, he can’t endure any kind of forward pressure. I am going to guess that whatever is wrong with him is grave enough that it’s not easy to fix, and will likely end his career. So he may be planning to fight as much as he can, continue to draw his pay, and ride the demotions to the bottom of Juryo.

Nishikifuji vs Ura – Ura is straddling the center-line with a 3-3 score, and needs to get his sumo into gear. He has had a three consecutive losses that were mostly Ura making a mistake, such as his deep dive against Hokutofuji on day six. Against 5-1 Nishikifuji, he is going to face a tough opponent, and likely struggle. Ura has won both prior matches.

Ichiyamamoto vs Myogiryu – I can’t quite figure out why Ichiyamamoto is still trying to find his first win at 0-6. He’s not fighting poorly, but he’s not winning. I think that we may see that streak continue as Myogiryu at 3-3 is not setting the pace, but is healthy enough that he is competing at close to his normal power. Ichiyamamoto holds a 3-1 career lead.

Hokutofuji vs Hiradoumi – Hokutofuji (2-4) is not looking anything close to normal, seeming to lack the defensive power that has made him a strong competitor. Maybe some problems with his lower body. He has only fought 3-3 Hiradoumi once before, at Kyushu last year. That match went to Hiradoumi.

Endo vs Aoiyama – These two have an 18 match career record, with the score 7-11 in favor of Aoiyama. They both have 4-2 scores. In spite of the size and 40 kg weight difference, this is a fairly even match, especially when you take into account that Aoiyama is not quite as potent as he should be right now, thanks to what may be a lower body problem.

Takayasu vs Midorifuji – They stuck the big show down right in the middle, like a glorious crispy katsu fillet proudly beaming in the center of a plate of curry. Both are 6-0, they have one prior match that Takayasu won by tsukidashi on day 6 of Aki last year. These two are going to go at it like champions, and frankly I can’t wait to see who prevails.

Kotoshoho vs Sadanoumi – Another match of men with dismal records. Its 0-6 Kotoshoho against 1-5 Sadanoumi. Both are high quality rikishi, but both of them are having terrible tournaments. Whatever crazy training got this many men banged up in the days leading up to Haru, they out to reconsider and think about preserving talent instead.

Mitakeumi vs Meisei – Mitakeumi (3-), though quite diminished, is still a potent force. This was evidenced by his win against the lone relic Ozeki, Takakeisho, on day six. He has 2-4 Meisei today, whom he has beaten on 10 out of their 13 prior matches.

Abi vs Shodai – I know that Takayasu vs Midorifuji is a big attention grabber, but this match has my interest too. Shodai is resurgent, showing us some of the sumo that took him to Ozeki, and I am glad to see him back. Abi is fighting nearly as well as he did when he took the cup in Kyushu, and this match could be fireworks. It’s a clash of sumo styles, with Abi having this rabid double arm thrusting preference, and Shodai fighting like a side of beef in a butcher’s freezer. Just be huge and impenetrable.

Tamawashi vs Tobizaru – This fight could be quite the crowd pleaser. Both of them are high mobility rikishi, with Tamawashi delivering powerful thrusting attacks, and Tobizaru focusing on off angle combos to win his matches. Right now Tamawashi at 1-5, and not fighting at his normal intensity, and he may be a bit easier for Tobizaru to pick off than normal. They share a 3-3 record.

Wakamotoharu vs Daieisho – Much as I love Wakamotoharu’s sumo, I think he’s going to struggle with 6-0 Daieisho today. Daieisho is fighting just about as well as he was in January of 2021 when he took the cup, finishing the basho with a blistering 13-2 record. I expect that Daieisho is going to contend for the yusho again this tournament, so today its Wakamotoharu’s turn to try and slow him down. They share a 2-2 career record.

Kiribayama vs Kotonowaka – This should be a solid match, with both men starting the day at 4-2, and being pretty evenly matched right now. Kiribayama has a 6-2 career lead and has won the last 4 in a row. Given that he seems to be in good form right now, I think it’s his match to lose.

Ryuden vs Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu is starting to act like a punk again, at least as I see it. It’s unnecessary, self indulgent and really degrades him as a competitor. He’s got 1-5 Ryuden today, and I am just praying that Hoshoryu can finish the match with some of his dignity left.

Wakatakakage vs Onosho – Normally this match would heavily favor Wakatakakage, but it seems that Wakatakakage can’t muster any better than 1-5 at the start of the middle weekend, and may be hurt. We can be certain that Onosho is likely to front-load his match with a big hit at the tachiai, I just hope we don’t see him get henka’d for the second day in a row. They share a 4-4 record.

Nishikigi vs Takakeisho – This is an interesting and unique match with a lot of options, most of which are bad. Nishikigi will attempt to grapple with Takakeisho. Should he capture the Ozeki, there are many bad ways this can turn out. Right now Nishikigi is on an arm bar and kotenage mood, and the last thing we need is Takakeisho with an elbow injury. The best possible outcome is that Takakeisho can connect with a thrusting attack at the tachiai, and put Nishikigi away in a hurry.

9 thoughts on “Osaka Day 7 Preview

  1. Hoshoryu…Hmmm, snotty little brat…Honestly, can’t wait for somebody to bitch slap him off the clay and do one of those Asashōryū afters that punts him into the third row…Don’t get me wrong i love good attitude and a great stare down (miss those)…But this guy….nah ..

  2. That swagger only works if you can back it up. It looks foolish at 3-3.
    Likely he’d have a different outlook with Uncle in the crowd.
    Or if Hak slapped him around a bit.
    Or if he fused with Kiri to create the ultimate tripping machine.

  3. Takayasu’s match today feels like the committee saying, “Deal with the kid, so we can schedule you with Daiesho later”. I suspect Diaesho would have the same honors if he was lower on the banzuke instead of Takayasu.

    I also agree about changing the training if these injuries are a result. Ay carumba! Perhaps also “unofficially” tell all of the heyas not to do kotenages anymore. That would help a lot too.

  4. Kyodo News reports that Takakeisho has withdrawn from the basho due to a knee injury. His stablemaster says that the Ozeki will not return to the tournament. Takakeisho will be kadoban in May.

    • Thanks for the Bad but not unexpected news.
      And what about Kiribayama? Will he be on the dohyo today? He didn‘t look well after his fight.

  5. I’m sorry for Takakeisho but, honestly, I don’t think he holds the level of Yokozuna yet.
    Anyhow, the Sumo commission should think about changing rules about the promotion rules as well as about consideration of Injury Status. Promotion only based on three row results lead in the past to Wakanohana promotion as Yokozuna (by me not deserved) while the not consideration of Injury status lead to avoiding Kaio to such promotion.
    By my opinion, Yokozuna promotion should be based on a broader lapse (4 or 5 Bashos) and Injury Status (duly certified) should be considered at least with a “grace period” of 1 or 2 Bashos. Tomokaze and even Terunofuji should not have fallen to Sandanme just by bad luck.


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