With the arrival of day 10, we are at the end of act 2. 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. There are 5 in contention for the cup, and only one of them has prior yusho experience, Daieisho. He last hoisted the Emperor’s Cup in January of 2021, with a 13-2 final score as a Maegashira 1. On his road to the yusho, be beat all 3 Ozeki at the time and then the entire san’yaku before the first week was done. The only rikishi who bested him were Takarafuji and Onosho. One of them today is kyujo with a knee injury, the other fading out before our eyes on the lower rungs of the banzuke. He managed a jun-yusho in May of last year with an 11-4 score from the Komusubi rank. In between those two were a spread of make-koshi and kachi-koshi tournaments, with 4 winning records and 3 losing records.
Daieisho’s biggest problem is one of consistency. When his sumo is working just right, he’s tough to beat, especially in this age where almost everyone is an adherent to the oshi/tsuki form. But his peak power is in a fairly narrow band, and it’s tough for him to maintain that intensity over 15 days, it seems. If he finishes with 10 or more wins this March, it will be only the 6th time out of 42 top division basho where he has reached such a mark. Best of luck to him as he vies for the cup.
One man in the lead, one a loss behind him, and three 2 losses back. I do expect that Midorifuji will take his first trip to the clay in the next few days, and then the race is one. The schedulers goal is to keep it close going into the final weekend to give us a thrilling end to this basho.
Hunt Group: Kotonowaka, Endo, Takayasu
6 Matches Remain
What We Are Watching Day 10
Mitoryu (4-5) vs Tohakuryu (4-5) – With Onosho out, we once again have a banzuke imbalance, and so we get more visitors from Juryo. Today it’s Tohakuryu’s turn to come to the top division, possibly for a right good thumping. He has never won against Mitoryu, and I see no reason today might be his first. Both men are in need of wins to stave of make-koshi in a few days, so I expect a lot of action in the first match of the day.
Kagayaki (3-6) vs Oho (4-5) – Somehow Oho has a better record that Kagayaki right now, but the numbers do not lie. There is a solid chance for Kagayaki to even things up if he can overcome his 1-3 career disadvantage against Oho and get him out of the ring or on the clay. A Kagayaki loss today will put him one match away from make-koshi. I hope this helps focus his mind.
Bushozan (4-5) vs Takarafuji (2-7) – Today may likely be make-koshi for dear Takarafuji. He’s only been able to find 2 wins so far, and I worry he’s in real danger of demotion back to Juryo. Bushozan won their only prior match, which was day 7 of Hatsu.
Tsurugisho (5-4) vs Takanosho (6-3) – Takanosho is far enough along that I think he might be able to hit double digits this March, which would do a lot to propel him back toward the top end of the banzuke, which is where he belongs when he is healthy. He’s only won once against Tsurugisho in 3 attempts, but the only prior fight in the top division was day 12 of Hatsu, which went to Tsurugisho.
Myogiryu (4-5) vs Chiyoshoma (6-3) – Normally these two would be an even match. But this March Myogiryu is fighting poorly, and struggling to keep himself on the kachi-koshi path. I also put a bit of an asterisk next to Chiyoshoma’s score, given that some of his win column comes from a henka, which is no indicator of actual sumo performance. They share a 6-6 career record.
Daishoho (5-4) vs Nishikifuji (6-3) – With a 7-1 career advantage, this one should go to Nishikifuji. The fought twice in 2022, in January and May, both going to Nishikifuji. The only Daishoho win came in Kyushu 2021, where Daishoho was able to get a solid hold on Nishikifuji’s mawashi and put him out of the ring by yorikiri.
Kotoeko (6-3) vs Hiradoumi (4-5) – Another of the great contrasts in today’s Torikumi, we get Kotoeko with the higher score going against lower scored Hiradoumi, against whom he has never won. I would like to think Kotoeko has a chance, given the quality of his sumo this March.
Ichiyamamoto (3-6) vs Azumaryu (0-9) – Someone had to fight Azumaryu, as he seems unwilling to own up to whatever injury is plaguing him and go kyujo. Given Ichiyamamoto’s day 9 performance, he should be able to win this one – if he does not fall over on his own first.
Hokuseiho (5-4) vs Ura (5-4) – First ever match between two rikishi with matching scores, and radically different approaches to sumo. Will Hokuseiho stand around being huge, and wait for Ura to unleash some new quantum sumo straight from the UC Berkley labs? Or Hakuho’s biggest recruit going to get in gear and fight today?
Hokutofuji (5-4) vs Aoiyama (4-5) – Hokutofuji leads the series 15-2, and he should be more than able to dispatch the injured Aoiyama in the first 15 seconds of this match.
Kinbozan (6-3) vs Takayasu (7-2) – First ever match for these two, with a 7 rung banzuke gap between them. I hope Takayasu approaches this fight with caution, as his wild man sumo would provide a lot of attack options for Kinbozan to exploit.
Sadanoumi (2-7) vs Nishikigi (2-7) – Loser is make-koshi. This time out, Nishikigi is doing quite a bit worse than I thought he would. Mostly I think due to over-reliance on that arm bar / kotenage combo he used quite a bit in the first act. It became predictable, and injured a few folks. I expect Sadanoumi to shut that down at the tachiai.
Tamawashi (1-8) vs Ryuden (1-8) – A match of great sadness, we are only on day 10 and we see a battle of two rikishi with a single win each. Both of them are solid competitors when healthy, but are all but banzuke ballast this March. Maybe they should ask to reconvene this match at a nearby izakaya instead.
Endo (7-2) vs Shodai (6-3) – This is, at least to me, a high interest match. Shodai is fighting well, Endo is fighting well. They have a 17 match career record that favors Shodai 11-6. I am keen to see if Shodai is focused enough this March to shut down Endo’s match plan. I sort of thing that today, he can.
Wakamotoharu (6-3) vs Meisei (4-5) – I would love to see Wakamotoharu end this tournament with third double digit score in the last 4 tournaments. He has no losses to Meisei in 2 prior matches, so I expect he may find his 7th win today.
Midorifuji (9-0) vs Tobizaru (4-5) – Time for Midorifuji to face some higher ranked opponents! He gets Tobizaru, who he has beaten in 3 of 4 prior attempts. The numbers only tell part of the story, as Tobizaru always seems to be fighting at his most intense for the “big” matches, and a chance to knock the leader out of sole possession of the yusho and back into a tie with Daieisho is indeed a “big” match. Oh, and the man just behind Midorifuji? Yes, Daieisho, he’s Tobizaru’s stable mate.
Abi (5-4) vs Kotonowaka (7-2) – A Kotonowaka win today is kachi-koshi for him, and he will start to apply pressure to take any Sekiwake rank that might become available. I personally think he will end up with at least 10 wins, so please Kotonowaka, run up the score.
Kiribayama (6-3) vs Mitakeumi (4-5) – As a fan who has appreciated Mitakeumi’s sumo, its tough to watch him unable to execute on most match days. He has a 6-8 career deficit against Kiribayama, and there is nothing to indicate that Mitakeumi would bring any advantage to the dohyo today.
Daieisho (8-1) vs Hoshoryu (6-3) – Should Tobizaru be able to pull off a win, it’s up to Daieisho to do his part against Hoshoryu. Their seven match career history would seem to indicate that if Hoshoryu can get a hand hon Daieisho’s belt, he has a solid chance to win. Should we see Daieisho break Hoshoryu’s balance in the first or second volley, it is going to go his way.
Wakatakakage (4-5) vs Kotoshoho (1-8) – Well, Wakatakakage had to fight someone. If he wins today (and he had better win today), he is 0-5 followed by 5-0. No, don’t ask me, I have no clue either.
3 thoughts on “Osaka Day 10 Preview”
I guess you imagine Ura quantum tunnelling between Hokuseiho’s legs
I will bet a large bowl of Chanko that Ura is going to at least attempt an Ashitori against Hokuseiho. Tall trees take a long time to topple over.
If Wakatakakage gets double digits I might just buy a lottery ticket.
I’m looking forward especially to Hokuseiho Ura, and obviously Midorifuji Tobizaru. Interesting context about Daiesho being Tobizaru’s stablemate! Also interested to watch Shodai and Kotoeko’s bouts today having learnt more about each them yesterday!