Welcome to nakabi, the middle day of the tournament! Having had the privilege of being able to attend a middle Sunday in person, it’s usually a festive occasion with plenty of happy folks in the Kokugikan, sharing a love of sumo, and having a good time.
With Endo kyujo, we will no longer have Juryo visitors, at least until someone gets hurt or withdraws. With us reaching day 8, it’s time to look at the leaderboard.
It’s our first look at the leaderboard, and it’s a 3 way tie among undefeated rikishi. We have two with prior yusho experience in the top group, and if they can hold on to the start of act 3, will be the favorites to take the cup. As mentioned earlier in the basho, Asanoyama has the easiest path at the moment, as i don’t think they will send him against higher ranked opponents until day 10 at the earliest.
They are trailed by 2 rikishi with one loss, and a group of 7 with 2 losses in the hunt group.
Leaders: Terunofuji, Meisei, Asanoyama
Chasers: Daieisho, Wakamotoharu
Hunt Group: Takakeisho, Kiribayama, Hoshoryu, Mitakeumi, Hiradoumi, Hokuseiho, Myogiryu
8 Matches Remain
What We Are Watching Day 8
Mitoryu (4-3) vs Myogiryu (5-2) – A head to head match up for two of the ‘ryu rikishi, both of them with winning records. They have never fought before in a basho, and I think that we are going to see Myogiryu have an early advantage, though Mitoryu’s enormity may prove to be enough to through Myogiryu off his match plan.
Chiyoshoma (4-3) vs Tsurugisho (4-3) – Tsurugisho as now won 3 out of his last 4, and I think is in about as good a fighting form as we are likely to see during Natsu. He’s up against Chiyoshoma who has won the last 4 in a row after a cold 0-3 start last weekend. They have a fairly even career record with a slight 6-5 lead for Chiyoshoma.
Aoiyama (2-5) vs Ichiyamamoto (2-5) – Matching 2-5 records for a pair of men I expect to favor a oshi-zumo battle. I am sure this is just fine for Ichiyamamoto who could not decide what to do with his hands during his day 7 loss to Asanoyama. The big question will be if he can land his double arm attacks early enough and strong enough to take advantage of Big Dan Aoiyama’s knee problems.
Oho (4-3) vs Kotoeko (2-5) – Now having won 3 in a row, maybe Oho is ready to settle in to some consistent sumo. I would like to think that Kotoeko, who has lost the last 3 in a row, is ready to break that streak. They have an even 2-2 record on the clay, so it should be possible for either man to dominate this match.
Hokuseiho (5-2) vs Asanoyama (7-0) – Well, now we get to the good stuff! Will Hakuho’s giant decide to be vigorous today, or just stand around and wait for sumo to happen nearby? If the only prior match between these two is any indication, Asanoyama will be driving this match, and Hokuseiho’s size may not matter that much. A win today for Asanoyama is kachi-koshi.
Kagayaki (2-5) vs Daishoho (2-5) – Both rikishi have bad 2-5 records to start today, and I think the best news is that one of them will find win number 3 today. Certainly Kagayaki has a 4-2 career lead, but out of those 6 matches, 4 of them happened in 2019. Daishoho won their only prior match this year.
Sadanoumi (3-4) vs Takarafuji (3-4) – Takarafuji holds a 15-6 career advantage, but don’t be surprised if he can’t stop lightning fast Sadanoumi today. His lower body just does not seem to be able to support his defensive style of sumo right now, and I think he will continue to struggle for the remaining week of the tournament.
Hokutofuji (3-4) vs Takanosho (2-5) – This one has the makings of a good fight, but for the fact that like Takarafuji, Takanosho’s lower body seems to be a limiting element to his sumo right now. I think that gives Hokutofuji a distinct advantage today, in that Hokutofuji’s lower body sometimes wins matches on his behalf, regardless of what the rest of him is doing at the time.
Ryuden (3-4) vs Tamawashi (2-5) – Also in the category of “this could have been a great match”, I don’t expect Tamawashi is going to have much to use in response to Ryuden’s sumo. The Iron Man is looking rusty and ready for recuperation right now, and I wish there was some way I could grant him that without damaging his amazing record of daily participation in sumo.
Meisei (7-0) vs Hiradoumi (5-2) – I have to wonder when Meisei is going to pick up his first loss. I suppose it is possible we could see him have a Goeido like moment and turn in the first zensho anyone has seen in a while, but I do think it’s unlikely. Hiradoumi has a solid winning record at 5-2, but is not really someone you would expect to be able to beat a genki Meisei. A win today for Meisei is kachi-koshi.
Onosho (4-3) vs Mitakeumi (5-2) – Battle of the big pushers. Both of them seem to have shaken off whatever ring rust or impediments were holding them back earlier, and are in fine fighting form. If the “good” Mitakeumi takes the dohyo today, this win belongs to him. But I think that Onosho knows that there will be an opening for him to win this one the moment that Mitakeumi makes a mistake
Kinbozan (3-4) vs Nishikifuji (1-6) – Direct from facing the Yokozuna, Kinbozan recycles to the lower parts of the banzuke to recover. He has Nishikifuji, who has only managed to win one match so far this tournament. This should be a straightforward Kinbozan win.
Abi (3-4) vs Tobizaru (3-4) – I think this has a chance to be a near perfect match. Both of them are prone to spontaneous high energy, off axis sumo. They are not afraid to step to the side, or use an unusual combination to try and with a match. They both have matching 3-4 records, so the winner today will be breaking a bit of a tie.
Daieisho (6-1) vs Midorifuji (2-5) – I don’t expect Midorifuji to offer Daieisho much of a challenge. There have been 3 prior matches, that have broken 2-1 in Daieisho’s favor. Furthermore, Daieisho’s sumo has been close to his optimum, and Midorifuji is at 2-5.
Kotonowaka (3-4) vs Hoshoryu (5-2) – Hoshoryu holds a 9-3 career advantage over Kotonowaka, plus he got a day of rest on day 7 after Endo withdrew from competition. Short of some disastrous bumble, I don’t see Hoshoryu losing this one.
Kiribayama (5-2) vs Ura (3-4) – On any given day, Ura can beat whomever he is paired against if the stars align for him to do something crazy. We have yet to see him really bend space-time this basho, so maybe he’s saving it for this middles Sunday. Kiribayama took his second loss on day 7 to Shodai, and I am quite sure he’s hoping to bounce back strong in his effort to drive to double digits.
Nishikigi (1-6) vs Wakamotoharu (6-1) – I think we can be fairly sure that these two will setting into a yotsu-zumo fight by the second step, and that which hand is inside will determine who controls the match. But all of that being true, I don’t see Nishikigi overcoming Wakamotoharu right now, who I think has a solid chance of competing for the cup in act 3. Wakamotoharu has a 5-1 career lead.
Shodai (3-4) vs Takakeisho (5-2) – Much like Ura, you can’t really ever count Shodai out. Yes, I give him a lot of grief here, and he deserves most of it. But if he somehow accidentally switches into “good” mode, he can and will beat anyone, including Terunofuji. We just don’t get to see that mode nearly enough. This would suit Takakeisho just fine, as he needs 3 more wins to reach the safety of 8.
Terunofuji (7-0) vs Kotoshoho (1-6) – Kotoshoho, even if he were genki, is completely out-matched here. I expect Terunofuji to pick up his 8th win and his kachi-koshi today. He has never lost to Kotoshoho in 4 prior matches.
4 thoughts on “Natsu Day 8 Preview”
Unless they deviate from normal scheduling, Meisei is in line to face Terunofuji on Day 9. All of their meetings are after Teru’s return to Makuuchi. The Yokozuna leads 6-2, though Meisei took 2 of the last 4.
What could possibly cause Abi to completely and utterly deviate from his forward-moving sumo? An arm or shoulder injury? His lower half is working fine because he’s been spry and agile enough to leap to the side for four consecutive tachiais. I am completely flummoxed at this point.
He definitely looks like something isn’t right. I know he’s had chronic elbow issues…
Hmmmmm. Having elbow trouble would mean being unable to push off of opponents which would make his “slap down” motions (and not wanting to grab onto anyone) make a lot of sense. I’d think that they’d tape his elbows for support, but that might not help with his ailment. Definitely a potential answer.