Hello all, welcome to day 6, the start of act 2 of this basho. Act 2 is usually a lot of fun, as we have the middle weekend, the start of the yusho race, and we start to sort competitors into winning and losing records. It’s too early to tell if the schedulers are going to run a “Darwin’s Funnel” this May, but if they decide to do so, it will first show up in act 2.
At the start of act 2, all the rikishi who might make a claim to an Ozeki promotion are still in the running to hit double digits. I think we all know where this is heading. Starting today, we are going to see them start fighting each other. Likewise, the pressure on Takakeisho will only increase from here, as he exits the “easy” part of his schedule. As of today, he’s at 3-2, and will probably be on the knife’s edge until sometime in act 3.
What We Are Watching Day 6
Ichiyamamoto (2-3) vs Bushozan (4-1) – Today’s Juryo visitor is Bushozan. At Juryo 3 East, he may be outside of the promotion zone unless he turns in a monster score, or the rikishi above him on the banzuke completely blow it. He has a 2-2 record against Ichiyamamoto, which happened in March during Bushozan’s first attempt to become a durable part of the top division. I am sure he is going to get there, but maybe not until Aki.
Oho (2-3) vs Tsurugisho (3-2) – Oho continues to look close to his poorest form in the last year, and I do expect Tsurugisho to have an advantage here today, if not an outright win. Oho has a body for sumo, and technique too. But he has routinely made rookie mistakes over the last 20 or so matches, and I wish he would get back to his “good” mode of fighting.
Asanoyama (5-0) vs Mitoryu (4-1) – I am glad they are giving Asanoyama the hardest matches they can muster with him being so far down the banzuke. As one of the co-leaders with a perfect 5-0 score, he still has the easiest route to the cup for now. Even when he faces the san’yaku later next week, I think he would still be favored in most of his matches. He won his only prior bout against Mitoryu, last basho when Asanoyama visited the top division on day 1.
Chiyoshoma (2-3) vs Kagayaki (1-4) – The “normal” Kagayaki would win this one without too much trouble. The current form of Kagayaki is going to be hard pressed to put up a reasonable fight, sadly. I am not sure what kind of gremlin got into Kagayaki’s inner workings, but I would love to see him revert to his prior form. He holds a 14-9 career advantage over Chiyoshoma.
Aoiyama (2-3) vs Myogiryu (3-2) – I am starting to think there might be a funnel, as the schedulers are already starting to prefer pairing rikishi with records close to the make/kachi koshi line. These two have fought 28 prior matches, with the results split 15-13 in favor of Aoiyama. Normally I would think Aoiyama has an edge, but it seems to me that his legs are not what they should be to support his ponderous bulk. At his age, and with the length of his careers, he may have just about used them up, so I expect him to continue his fade.
Hokuseiho (4-1) vs Kotoeko (2-3) – Everyone loves a big man / little man sumo contest. The size difference will make for some interesting choices in Kotoeko’s offensive plan, but none of them may matter one bit if Hokuseiho continues his “statue of Buda” technique. He won their only prior match by the seldom seen harimanage on day 8 of this year’s Osaka basho.
Onosho (2-3) vs Takarafuji (3-2) – Onosho has done an excellent job of delivering maximum pressure against Takarafuji’s increasingly tenuous lower body. As a result he holds a considerable 12-8 career advantage over Takarafuji, having won the last three in a row. This is their first match in 2023.
Daishoho (1-4) vs Hiradoumi (3-2) – Daishoho only has a single win, and could really use at least one more soon. He has a 4-0 record against Hiradoumi, and this chance to have Daishoho pull to 2-4 while Hiradoumi goes to 3-3 makes me think more about a possible Darwin Funnel starting this weekend.
Ryuden (3-2) vs Takanosho (1-4) – I am starting to think that at least for yet another basho that Takanosho is going to struggle just to finish. At 1-4, he’s in tough shape daily. He has Ryuden, who has beaten him in 4 of their 6 prior matches.
Sadanoumi (3-2) vs Mitakeumi (3-2) – Both start the day at 3-2, and I think I would give an advantage to Sadanoumi based on him being in better physical condition this May. Sadanoumi also won their only match so far this year, on day 13 of Osaka.
Kinbozan (2-3) vs Tamawashi (1-4) – First ever match for Kinbozan against sumo’s iron man, Tamawashi. I think it’s just a shame that Tamawashi is in poor fighting form right now, as I would love to see Kinbozan get a chance to receive some of Tamawashi’s tradition oshi-zumo instruction.
Hokutofuji (2-3) vs Kotoshoho (1-4) – Fans, don’t fret, Hokutofuji is still solidly on track to once again earn “The most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo”. To ensure that stays the case, we need Kotoshoho to rally past his crummy 1-4 score and give Hokutofuji the business. If he does, it will be his first ever win against “old stompy”.
Ura (3-2) vs Meisei (5-0) – Ura has a chance to knock red hot Meisei out of his co-leader spot with a win today. He has a 2-2 record against Meisei, and one their last match on day 13 of Osaka 2022 by okuridashi. I am hoping for some solid “what was that” sumo with perhaps some engagement from extra dimensions of space-time as needed.
Endo (0-5) vs Midorifuji (0-5) – The schedulers have paired the two rikishi with no wins together for a final match to determine who is the bottom. Great.
Kotonowaka (3-2) vs Shodai (1-4) – Can someone please get in contact with the Tokyo University of Agriculture and have them perform their mystical Daikon dance to infuse this guy with some mojo? Kotonowaka is going to try to rally today before he gets too far off the trail toward double digits, and it would be perfect to see Shodai pull some cartoon sumo out of the ether and put the Sadogatake man down.
Kiribayama (4-1) vs Tobizaru (2-3) – Oh, fun match. I am surprised they did not keep this for the weekend, as you have Kiribayama trying to hit double digits to help push toward an Ozeki bid, against high mobility oshi-harrier Tobizaru. The catch? Tobizaru has a 9-6 advantage over Kiribayama. They have both won one of their 2 prior matches this year.
Abi (2-3) vs Wakamotoharu (5-0) – I am hoping that Wakamotoharu can stay strong until we get to see him 1 on 1 against Asanoyama. Readers know I am a fan of solid yotsu-zumo, and Wakamotoharu is probably the strongest yotsu man in competition right now, with Asanoyama close behind. The challenge is that Abi holds a 4-1 advantage over Wakamotoharu, and is capable of beating anyone at this rank if he gets the right conditions.
Daieisho (4-1) vs Hoshoryu (4-1) – The schedulers are having some fun, putting two of the Ozeki hopefuls head to head today with matching 4-1 scores. Hoshoryu has a slight 5-3 career advantage, and they are both fighting very well this May. I think it will come down to who connects first, as I expect Daieisho to start with a big pushing attack, and that will be against Hosieryu’s desire to get a hand hold on Daieisho’s body. Don’t be out of the room for this fight, it could be one of the highlights of the basho.
Nishikifuji (1-4) vs Takakeisho (3-2) – I have a strong sense that Takakeisho is going to score his much needed 4th win today because he has not lost to Nishikifuji before, and Nishikifuji is not fighting well this tournament. They last fought in January during Hatsu day 8, where Takakeisho won by hatakikomi.
Terunofuji (5-0) vs Nishikigi (1-4) – I do not expect Nishikigi to pick up a surprise kinboshi today. In fact because he will typically go for a battle hug straight away, I expect we may get to see a third straight kaiju-kimedashi.
4 thoughts on “Natsu Day 6 Preview”
Terunofuji def strongest yotsu guy but think WMH has the look of a future yokozuna
Official confirmation that Tochinoshin retired: https://twitter.com/sumokyokai/status/1659405992231333890
Be sad to see him go. But better now before a 0-15 slide out of the J’s down to Mak…Or worse some sort of major injury..
I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to be able to one day come back in the top division.
But i though he still had a bit of gas left in the tank to be able to stay in Juryo one more year, maybe two. So i didn’t see his retire coming at all. Even though i knew it was just a question of time.
Wow…that’s one last big pillar that is leaving sumo today.
And with that….the LAST rikishi still active who had FACED Asashōryū is now gone !!!!!
Tamawashi is now the only one left of what i would call “The era of the rise of Hakuhō to Yokozuna and the grand clash with Asashōryū.”
As Tamawashi, despite being at the bottom of makuuchi, was coming up and was just ranked a bit too low. He missed his chance of facing Asashōryū by one tournament.