Natsu Day 5 Preview

Welcome to the end of act 1! At Tachiai, we divide each 15 day honbasho into 3 distinct acts, each with its own goals and purpose. For act 1, its: remove ring rust, see who is hot and who is not. We can already see that Daieisho and Wakamotoharu are in the “hot” column, with Meisei and Asanoyama likely to be grouped in there too. I declare it’s still too early to tell with Terunofuji, even though he starts day five with a perfect 4-0 record. The “not” column must include the hapless Endo, along with stable mates Midorifuji and Nishikifuji. The string of bad luck for Isegahama is noteworthy, and a shame. Both of these rikishi are high skill, ace competitors that are working through chronic and performance limiting injuries.

What We Are Watching Day 5

Mitoryu (3-1) vs Kagayaki (1-3) – Don’t be surprised when the first match of the day does not feature a Juryo rikishi. No, nobody new went kyujo (at least at the time I wrote this), he’s in the second match of the day. Instead we get to watch a fairly genki Mitoryu likely trash an ailing Kagayaki. I am not sure where his sumo went, but it’s been MIA since Kyushu. Probably an injury. Mitoryu won their only prior match which was Nagoya 2022.

Tohakuryu (2-2) vs Tsurugisho (2-2) – Juryo 2 West Tohakuryu is our visitor today. He started pro sumo in 5 years ago at Natsu 2019 as a Sandanme 100 tsukidashi.He hit Juryo 18 months later, but has struggled to earn a kachi-koshi in the promotion zone. He comes into today with a middling 2-2 record, and has a 1-4 career deficit against bulky Tsurugisho.

Ichiyamamoto (2-2) vs Oho (1-3) – Its tough when you have a hit-or-miss (mostly miss?) rikishi like Oho, you don’t know if he’s hurt, distracted or just has reached the limit of his sumo. I would like to think he could improve both in form and rank, but he seems tone continuing his poor performance tha that started at Hatsu. He has an even 4-4 record against Ichiyamamoto.

Myogiryu (2-2) vs Kotoeko (2-2) – This is a match with a lot of potential. Sure Myogiryu has a 10-3 career advantage, but both rikishi are fighting really well right now, and I think we could see fireworks for this one.

Aoiyama (2-2) vs Asanoyama (4-0) – It’s a ‘Yama battle for the 5th match, and all of my chips are on Asanoyama. He has a 5-3 career lead against Big Dan, and the kimarite all come down to Asanoyama getting a grip. If Aoiyama can keep him away and pound him like a tough piece of steak, he might take this match, but given the fact that his knee has already given out once, he might be limited in what he can do against Asanoyama today.

Chiyoshoma (1-3) vs Daishoho (1-3) – Both are surprising me with their 1-3 score, as both of them are capable of doing a fair bit better than their scored would indicate. But we see a number of same-score pairings today, maybe its just time to do it. I don’t know who has an advantage in this fight, probably Chiyoshoma.

Hokuseiho (3-1) vs Hiradoumi (3-1) – Another same-score pairing, there are commenters on this fine web site, and on social media, who think Hokuseiho’s matches are more boring than Ichinojo’s were. I encourage them to amplify their sense of humor and look at it as Hokuseiho trolling everyone with his “statue of Buda” sumo style. Hey, it could catch on! Hokuseiho has won both prior matches.

Takarafuji (2-2) vs Takanosho (1-3) – Takanosho holds a 9-2 career advantage over Takarafuji, who seems to be fading a bit now. I will be curious to see if he can withstand any forward pressure from Takanosho today. If not, he’s more or less in the same condition he was in during Osaka, and that’s bad news for his rank in July.

Sadanoumi (3-1) vs Ryuden (2-2) – I wonder if Ryuden is still trying to figure out what he could have done to move Hokuseiho around. Give it up Ryuden, just relish in the fact you are still shin-Ikioi. He showed great stability and endurance in that day 4 match, and he’s likely to need it again against Sadanoumi, who is fighting quite well this month indeed. They share a 7-6 career match record, with Sadanoumi taking both prior matches this year.

Onosho (1-3) vs Tamawashi (1-3) – Back to same-score pairing, both of them are likely to have crummy scores a week from Sunday. Onosho because I think he needs a front end alignment to get his balance back, and Tamawashi because he’s an old guy and his body is trying to tell him that it’s time to head off into the sunset. They share an even 6-6 career score.

Mitakeumi (2-2) vs Kotoshoho (1-3) – On paper, I would think that Mitakeumi should win this. But statistics tend to blur facts together into an averaged out mush. In reality, Mitakeumi has not been his normal self for a while now, and may be beatable by the likes of Kotoshoho. He won their only prior match when Mitakeumi was a Sekiwake, on day 10 of the November 2020 tournament.

Kinbozan (2-2) vs Hokutofuji (1-3) – First ever match, and we have young rising start Kinbozan going against the man with the most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo. In spite of his 1-3 record, Hokutofuji can win any match on any given day, if his sumo can find the right opening and he is able to press the attack. This one might also have a lot of potential

Meisei (4-0) vs Nishikigi (1-3) – Red-hot unbeaten Meisei will give Nishikigi an opportunity to improve on his somewhat miserable 1-3 score. The normally near sighted Nishikigi works best when he can grapple his opponent. History shows that against Meisei, if he can get a hold, he has a chance. They share a 3-3 career record.

Nishikifuji (0-4) vs Endo (0-4) – Perhaps the most miserable of the same-score pairings today, these two winless guys face each other and we hope one of them finds a win. Honestly, not sure why Endo’s score is this low. Nishikifuji is still hurt. Maybe Endo is too?

Midorifuji (0-4) vs Wakamotoharu (4-0) – When you can’t do same-score pairing, let’s try mirror score instead! Lossless Wakamotoharu gets a chance to knock winless Midorifuji around. A healthy Midorifuji can give Wakamotoharu an even match, but I am pretty sure that something is keeping him from competing at full power.

Daieisho (4-0) vs Abi (1-3) – Battle of the big thrusters, with both of these guys able to launch the other one off the dohyo just from oshi power alone. Out of their 15 prior matches, Daieisho has won 9, and has won 5 of the last 6 against Abi. Ooof.

Shodai (1-3) vs Hoshoryu (3-1) – Another mirror image score match, but this one features the hapless Shodai who is once again struggling to compete with anyone in the named ranks. Frankly his sumo has been all over the place, and not the cartoon sumo that won him matches from nowhere. This is just mad cap “try anything” sumo that turns ineffective quickly and looks terrible. I do hope he can pull it together and defend his Komusubi rank this May.

Kiribayama (3-1) vs Kotonowaka (3-1) – After the henka-non-henka double header on day 4, I have new appreciation for Kiribayam’s sense of humor. As Kakuryu’s deshi, I assumed he would be skilled, but that choice was not something he was likely taught. Both of these guys are talked about in terms of future Ozeki material, neither of them have fought Terunofuji in 6 months, so we will have to see how that plays out later in the basho.

Tobizaru (1-3) vs Takakeisho (3-1) – Takakeisho struggles with the high mobility Tobizaru, and I think given the questionable state of Takakeisho’s lower body right now, it must be a concern. True, Tobizaru has only won a single match so far in this tournament, but all he needs to do is catch Takakeisho without his feet set for defenses for a split second, and he may add a second loss, or worse yet an injury, to Takakeisho’s May outlook. They share a 4-4 career record.

Terunofuji (4-0) vs Ura (3-1) – I don’t think Terunofuji is going to have much trouble with Ura today. Much as I would love to see the man in the pink mawashi pick up another kinboshi this May, I don’t think we will see Terunofuji be at real risk of losing matches until he faces the san’yaku. So likely a win to pad is 4-1 career record against Ura.

4 thoughts on “Natsu Day 5 Preview

  1. I don’t know if Midorifuji and Nishikifuji are any more injured than anyone else. They’re both at their career-high ranks and largely facing san’yaku opponents, and their results reflect that. With the exception of Ura, whose san’yaku tour starts tomorrow, everyone in the joi is either 1-3 or 0-4.

    • Midorifuji may not be injured, but he, and his spirit animal Enho, are both way off their brand of sumo. Taking their opponents head on is a waste of everyone’s time.

  2. Shout out to whoever at chooses the header images for each post. I particularly like this one! A dohyo still life!


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