It’s day 3 in Tokyo! Will we get to see just how damaged Terunofuji is? Will we see one of the Ozeki hopeful take their first loss? Will Asanoyama’s low rank give him an advantage to spring boarding into next weeks yusho race? Bring on the torikumi!
What We Are Watching Day 3
Shonannoumi (1-1) vs Oho (1-1) – Today’s Juryo visitor is Shonannoumi, who is making his top division debut. Currently ranked Jury 1W, he’s been on a tear as of late, and can make it to the Maegashira ranks with a kachi-koshi this March. He won his only prior match against Oho, which happened on day 11 of Kyushu 2019, when both were in Makushita.
Kagayaki (0-2) vs Tsurugisho (1-1) – Its tough to watch Kagayaki flounder as he is doing. I have admired his fundamentals-based approach to his sumo for many years, but right now I think this guy belongs in Juryo. He seems to be in some sort of “rank protection program” at the moment, possibly because of his oyakata, and let me tell you, you are not doing Kagayaki any favors. Sure, he might bounce back after he loses his ring rust, but he’s still floundering while ranked at the bottom of the banzuke.
Ichiyamamoto (1-1) vs Mitoryu (1-1) – On to someone who I think will pull their sumo together and bounce back up the banzuke, Ichiyamamoto. His sumo seems to be about as one dimensional as Abi’s, but I think there is room for another double-arm thruster in the top division. He has a 4-2 career lead over Mitoryu, and I think as both of them are 1-1 starting day 3, this is Ichiyamamoto’s chance to pull ahead.
Chiyoshoma (0-2) vs Myogiryu (1-1) – You can look at this match up and ask yourself, what the hell is Myogiryu doing down here fight Chiyoshoma. But the answer is two consecutive make-koshi, including a 5-10 stinker in Osaka. They are fairly evenly matched, with Chiyoshoma having a negligible 7-6 lead. Is today the first henka? We shall see…
Asanoyama (2-0) vs Kotoeko (1-1) – HEADLINE: Former Ozeki pounds the stuffing out of lower ranked rikishi, urges banzuke committee to pick up the pace. Seriously, 4-1 against the compact fellow from Miyazaki. Enjoy the trip and please keep your tray table in the upright and locked position.
Hokuseiho (1-1) vs Aoiyama (2-0) – Now this one is a delightful curiosity. Hulking youngster faces hulking older rikishi. Hokuseiho is finding out that the “just be huge” routine is not very useful from here on out, so he’s going to have to fight. Is Aoiyama healthy enough to introduce him to the V-Twin? I sure hope so.
Daishoho (0-2) vs Takarafuji (2-0) – I am starting to have hope that Takarafuji’s health and mechanical injury problems are behind him for now. If so, we can look forward to him dishing out some great defensive sumo over the next 2 weeks. It’s been since last year that we have seen him in good form, and I hope that is in fact the case. He has a 2-1 career record against Daishoho.
Onosho (1-1) vs Ryuden (1-1) – Circle this one with a big marker, as I think that we will have a sharp fight out of these two. We can assume that Onosho is going to start the match with a big attack, but will Ryuden be there to receive it? They have only fought once since 2020, and that match went to Ryuden by yorikiri during day 5 of Hatsu.
Hiradoumi (1-1) vs Takanosho (0-2) – I hope that whatever is keeping Takanosho from winning matches is nothing more than typical ring-rust. I know he has a lot of natural talent, but has struggled with mechanical injuries since July of last year. He is starting day 3 with a 0-2 record, and I am not sure he’s got the mojo to do too much against Hiradoumi today.
Hokutofuji (1-1) vs Sadanoumi (1-1) – This match is another today that has the potential for a highlight reel. Hokutofuji’s day 2 match against Mitakeumi was completely fantastic. The crowd in the Kokugikan went nuts, and rightfully so. May I just mention how nice it is to see the sumo fans slowly reverting back to form? You put Hokutofuji’s epic stability against Sadanoumi’s lightning speed, and we may get magic. Hokutofuji does hold a 5-3 career lead, with the last 3 in a row going to Sadanoumi.
Tamawashi (1-1) vs Mitakeumi (1-1) – 34 career matches. Long term sumo fans may recall the days they were both in san’yaku and would have big matches that featured painful moves and loud thuds each and every tournament. Tamawashi has won the last 4 in a row, which overlays well on Mitakeumi’s physical problems, so it’s any guess who has the edge today.
Kinbozan (1-1) vs Meisei (2-0) – At Maegashira 5e, we all want to see Kinbozan fight the named ranked rikishi. Yes, he has to wade through his peers on the banzuke right now, and I would not be surprised to see them save those matches for the middle weekend. I know I would. But he has a first ever fight against Meisei, who has started Natsu 2-0.
Ura (1-1) vs Kotoshoho (1-1) – Ura’s day 2 loss to Daieisho came as no surprise, given the clash of styles. Today’s prospects are much better for Ura, as he does have a tool box that can win against Kotoshoho. Even though the score looks even at a career 3-2 Ura advantage, the last 2 matches went to Kotoshoho. To me, Ura is still holding something back, maybe he’s not quite fighting fit this month?
Kotonowaka (2-0) vs Nishikifuji (0-2) – Its probably time for someone to put Kotonowaka on the clay. Nishikifuji has yet to have a win, but I doubt that fact will remain true for much longer and today’s a good a day as any. Their last prior match was Aki day 15 of 2022, and went to Nishikifuji by okuridashi.
Tobizaru (0-2) vs Hoshoryu (2-0) – Likewise, it’s high time for Tobizaru to win his first match, and put a dent into that unbeaten record of Hoshoryu. They have 15 prior matches, stretching back to Juryo in 2019, with Hoshoryu having a 9-6 advantage. If Hoshoryu can capture Tobizaru, we will likely see sumo’s flying monkey visit the crowd again today, but I do hope that he can at least put up a good defense.
Kiribayama (2-0) vs Abi (0-2) – Like Tobizaru, I think it’s a good time for Abi to start winning matches. The slip and fall on the second step of his day 2 match against Terunofuji was a massive disappointment, but as long as he can keep his feet today, I think he will at least get off a couple of good volleys against the Ozeki hopeful. Kiribayama holds a 4-1 career lead, with Abi only winning their first ever match in March of 2022.
Shodai (1-1) vs Wakamotoharu (2-0) – I think its likely they will go chest to chest, and that will even the field for Shodai. He was nearly upright in his day 2 match against Nishikifuji, and as always I think Shodai wins matches in spite of his poor mechanical form. But right now Wakamotoharu’s form is solid enough that I would not be surprised to see him in the yusho race next week. They hold an even 2-2 career record.
Daieisho (2-0) vs Nishikigi (0-2) – To me, Daieisho looks to be very comfortable in his sumo right now, and I would expect that if he can get a clear attack rout to Nishikigi’s chest, it’s a 3rd win for him.
Midorifuji (0-2) vs Takakeisho (1-1) – Takakeisho is hurt. I know it, you know it, and the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan knows it. But is he hurt enough for Midorifuji to overcome his 0-3 career record against the Grand Tadpole? Maybe. We did not see any good offense from Takakeisho on day 2, and that should be a concern.
Terunofuji (2-0) vs Endo (0-2) – Fans likely know that Endo will bring out his best sumo for a “big” match. The chance to take a kinboshi from a less than genki Yokozuna counts as “big”. I would expect Terunofuji to get his first solid test of his condition and his sumo today. He has a 9-5 career lead over Endo.