Natsu Day 7 Preview

Welcome to the middle weekend, one of my favorite parts of the 15 day honbasho cycle. There are a number of high interest match ups in the torikumi today, and out would be fun to see a bit of a shuffle take place prior to our first look at the leaderboard with tomorrow night’s preview. I think the rest of sumo fandom are starting to wonder when they are going to give Asanoyama some matches against the joi-jin, and I expect those to start in act 3. He continues to have the easiest path of the three perfect record leaders to the yusho. If he should manage to prevail, it would be his second. Sadly there won’t be a US president there on the final day, though it seems US president Joe Biden is in Japan right now. Yeah, not going to happen.

What We Are Watching Day 7

Enho (0-6) vs Myogiryu (4-2) – Fan favorite Enho visits from Juryo, sadly he brings his rock bottom 0-6 score with him. Enho has been a wreck for past couple of years, and I am not sure he will ever get back to the point he can compete in the top division. At least we know that Myogiryu will get his 5th win…

Asanoyama (6-0) vs Ichiyamamoto (2-4) – First ever match between Ichiyamamoto and Asanoyama. It’s like someone is sending a plucky green infantry unit up against Rommel. That’s not to say that Ichiyamamoto can’t possibly beat Asanoyama, just that he may be in for some surprises on the first step.

Chiyoshoma (3-3) vs Mitoryu (4-2) – Six prior fights, and Chiyoshoma has won them all, including two in this year alone. I am not sure if it’s just that Mitoryu is a big rubbery dollop of creme brulee trying to execute oshi-zumo, or if Chiyoshoma has some special advantage in the form of black sorcery, but it would be fun to have the creme brulee win one today.

Kagayaki (1-5) vs Kotoeko (2-4) – Kagayaki enters the middle weekend with but a single win to his name. The only solace he might take from this match is that Kotoeko has been fighting well, looking fabulous, and losing matches with just 2 wins to his name. Kagayaki holds an 11-9 career advantage, but who knows which one of these scratch and dent refugees will come out on top here.

Hokuseiho (5-1) vs Tsurugisho (3-3) – A new age battle of the mega-fauna. Gone is the time when Kaisei would square off against Gagamaru, but instead we can get the absurdly thick Tsurugisho up against our favorite Miyagino apartment block. Hokuseiho won their only prior match, which was day 8 of Kyushu 2022. Given how well Hokuseiho is doing right now, I think that its his match to lose.

Oho (3-3) vs Takarafuji (3-3) – Normally this would be a high interest match. But both of them are fighting well below their ability when healthy and ready to go. So it’s a pair of 3-3 guys just trying to get to day 15 in one piece.

Ryuden (3-3) vs Daishoho (1-5) – This one looks like it’s set up to give Ryuden a much needed win for his 3-3 record. He has lost 2 of the last 3, and needs to be careful as he’s right on the center line between make-koshi and kachi-koshi. Daishoho is in the single win group, and may be a white star donor today. Ryuden leads their career record at 5-2.

Aoiyama (2-4) vs Hiradoumi (4-2) – Mirror image scores seem to point toward a bit of funneling this weekend. The ideal outcome would be for Aoiyama to get his 3rd win, and Hiradoumi his 3rd loss to bring them into any funnel group that the schedulers may decide to set up. Aoiyama holds a 3-1 career lead over Hiradoumi, and won both prior matches against him this year.

Hokutofuji (3-3) vs Onosho (3-3) – After a rough start, I think Onosho has finally shaken off his ring rust and is starting to fight closer to his good form. If that holds true today, this will be a high interest match. They have had 16 prior matches, that they have split 8-8. They both like to launch hard off of the shikiri-sen, and they can both hit like a runaway truck. The formula for a good fight.

Takanosho (2-4) vs Mitakeumi (4-2) – Another match with mirror image scores that make me think that the scheduling team might be moving to set up a funnel. They have an even career 7-7 record, both are fighting quite a bit less than what they are capable of, and both want to earn a win today.

Meisei (6-0) vs Sadanoumi (3-3) – Meisei comes into the middle weekend part of an elite 3 person group that are thus far unbeaten. Don’t ask me when he will lose his first match, I am impressed he got this far! In a normal basho, this would be a solid, even fight. But with Meisei being on a hot streak, I worry that Sadanoumi will extend his 2 match black star run.

Tamawashi (1-5) vs Kotoshoho (1-5) – Both are 1-5, having a crummy tournament, probably want to just go to the bar and have a drink. Suggest this is the best time to get up and use the toilet.

Tobizaru (2-4) vs Nishikigi (1-5) – Back from your bio break? Good! This one has fun written up one side and down the other. We have high mobility Tobizaru against near sighted battle hugger Nishikigi. Tobizaru is not too worried when he gets into a yotsu match, so if Nishikigi gets a hold, it’s not the end of Tobizaru’s fight today. Expect some crazy monkey sumo in this one.

Abi (3-3) vs Midorifuji (1-5) – I don’t think this one is going to be much of a contest, as Midorifuji has only a single win thus far. Abi is not really running up the score at this point, but he’s still in good enough fighting form to be the favorite in this match.

Endo (0-6) vs Hoshoryu (4-2) – Hey, Hoshoryu! Free win!

Kiribayama (5-1) vs Shodai (2-4) – You may look at this and decide that it’s a cream puff for Kiribayama today to help him reach for double digits. But in reality Shodai has a 9-5 record against him on the clay. Given that Shodai is really hit or (mostly) miss this May, it may in fact be a “gimmie” for Kiribayama, or we may get to see Shodai rally and make Kiribayama’s road to double digits a bit uglier.

Nishikifuji (1-5) vs Wakamotoharu (5-1) – I don’t anticipate Nishikifuji putting up too much of a fight today, so I look for Wakamotoharu to continue with the 1 loss group into day 8.

Daieisho (5-1) vs Kotonowaka (3-3) – Kotonowaka has racked up 3 straight losses. It’s tough to know if he just lost focus, or hurt something. But when facing someone like Daieisho it’s best to make sure your health insurance is paid up, and your dental fillings are firmly cemented. Right now Daieisho is a man on a mission, and Kotonowaka is his next hurdle.

Ura (3-3) vs Takakeisho (4-2) – Any match with a non-crippled Ura in it has potential for fun and mystery-sumo. But I think when the day ends that we will get to see Takakeisho win win #5 as he guts out his grind to 8 to clear kadoban. He has an 11-3 career lead over Ura.

Terunofuji (6-0) vs Kinbozan (3-3) – Oh now this IS a high interest match, and could be quite the fight. It comes down to how much Kinbozan is intimidated by the Yokozuna, or if he’s just going to fight him like he would Tamawashi. I am fairly sure he is likely to lose, but if he does not let himself be overcome by the perception of Terunofuji, he could give him a stiff fight. Of course, he might be just snag his first kinboshi if the stars align.

6 thoughts on “Natsu Day 7 Preview

  1. According to media reports, Endo has pulled out, so it will literally be a free win for Hoshoryu,

  2. I’m actually excited about this basho. For the first time in what feels like an eternity, we have actually a strong Sanyaku performance. 4 Sekiwake, 3 of which have a 5–1 record and Hoshoryu with 4–2. Komusubi Kotonowaka looked strong, but after 3 consecutive losses only 3–3. Even Shodai at 2–4 isn’t too far from break even.
    Contrary M1–5 have no winning records and only Abi (thanks to two henkas) and Kinbozan even at 3–3.
    And then of course there is Asanoyama, who will likely be 10–0 before he gets stronger opponents, at least if for once he can keep his focus in all bouts.

    Down in Juryo we also have some strong starts by the new generation. Ochiai and Gonoyama are 6–0, Atamifuji, Oshoma and Roga 5–1. Shonnanoumi 4–2. Also in the promotion zone Bushozan is off to a strong start at 5–1.

    • In with the strong sanyaku performances, we’ve got a strong performance from Terunofuji and somehow Takakeisho is even looking like he might clear kadoban.

  3. Hi, just a question. As someone who is still relatively new to Sumo (I’ve been watching for just over a year right now), I’m wondering what you mean when you describe a “funnel match” or “Darwin’s funnel”. I couldn’t find any other references anywhere. Could you please explain the terms?


    • The funnel is basically the organisers trying to schedule the fixtures so that as many rikishi as possible are 7-7 going into day 15 such that on day 15 these rikishi can be paired against each other in “Darwin matches” – winner gets kachi koshi (winning record) and loser gets make koshi (losing record).


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