Natsu Day 10 Preview

Welcome to our preview of day 10, the final day of act 2 for the Natsu basho. Act 2 is where we narrow the field to find out who has what it takes to compete for the yusho, and to start sorting the survivors from the damned, and it looks like that has happened as planned. We have a 3 way race for the cup, and a list of rikishi who are fighting poorly and bound for make-koshi. So far no one has earned a set on the Juryo barge of the damned, but I expect that to be resolved in the next couple of days.

Natsu Leaderboard

With Terunofuji’s day 9 loss, it is once again a 3 way race for the cup. The match between Meisei and Hokuseiho may narrow that down again. Asanoyama still has the easier path to the cup for now, but I expect him to face opponents further up the banzuke starting as soon as tomorrow. I note with interest the names now in the chase group include 2 of the men pressing to make the case for Ozeki this y ear, along with Hokuseiho.

Leaders: Terunofuj, Meisei, Asanoyama
Chasers: Kiribayama, Wakamotoharu, Hiradoumi, Hokuseiho
Hunt Group: Takakeisho, Hoshoryu, Daieisho, Mitakeumi, Myogiryu, Tsurugisho

6 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 10

Kagayaki (3-6) vs Myogiryu (6-3) – In spite of Myogiryu’s day 9 loss to Oho, I think he is going to dispatch Kagayaki today without much trouble. Kagayaki has an amazing string of banzuke luck, but ranked at M17e, there is no force I can think of that would save him from a seat on the Juryo barge of the damned. They share an even 6-6 record.

Aoiyama (3-6) vs Mitoryu (4-5) – Another great battle of the mega-fauna with almost half a ton of rikishi on the dohyo at the same time. If they could get Tsurugisho up there too, it would be a real stress test. From a health and wellness standpoint, it’s Mitoryu’s match to lose, as I still think Aoiyama is in tough shape, in spite of his day 9 win against hapless Kagayaki.

Ichiyamamoto (3-6) vs Kotoeko (4-5) – Ichiyamamoto has lost 4 of the last 5, and I don’t see much that would give me a notion that he can best Kotoeko today. Kotoeko is fighting well enough, but needs to win 4 of the remaining 6 matches to reach kachi-koshi.

Ryuden (3-6) vs Oho (5-4) – Ryuden will take on the much lower ranked Oho today for the 4th time in their careers. Ryuden leads 2-1, and is generally fighting better this May. Oho as a superior score at 5-4, but I don’t know that he has enough sumo right now to overcome Ryuden.

Onosho (5-4) vs Chiyoshoma (5-4) – Both rikishi are 5-4, they share a 6-6 career record, and I think this could be a fun match. We will watch to see who sets up shop first: Chiyoshoma with a body or belt hold, or Onosho with a focused thrusting attack.

Asanoyama (8-1) vs Hiradoumi (7-2) – First ever match for the former Ozeki and a hot shot sumotori clawing his way up the banzuke. I would not be at all surprised to see Asanoyama take a second loss before senshuraku, but I am not sure that Hiradoumi is the man to supply it. Should Hiradoumi win, it will be kachi-koshi for him.

Sadanoumi (5-4) vs Tsurugisho (6-3) – Speed vs bulk for this match up. Given how things are going for Tsurugisho this month, I am picking bulk. Tsurugisho also has a 4-2 career lead in their head to head matches. But interestingly enough, they last fought during Hatsu of 2020, so it has been 3 years and change since their last fight.

Daishoho (3-6) vs Takanosho (3-6) – Both are 3-6 to start the day, and both are fighting quite poorly during the basho. Like the match before this one, these two have not fought for several years – in fact it was Kyushu 2019.

Takarafuji (3-6) vs Tamawashi (3-6) – 28 career matches split right down the middle at 14-14. They are both fighting well below their normal, and may both be on the exit ramp toward retirement in the next year. They also bring matching 3-6 records to the start of the day. I say we just watch them fight, and hope no body parts fall off.

Meisei (8-1) vs Hokuseiho (7-2) – From a sunset match to a possible thrash a thon. Its a first ever fight for these two, and I think Meisei has his work cut out for him. Hokuseiho seems to have invented a variation of common sumo that is scaled for someone of his stature, and it seems to require new ways of adapting normal defensive techniques. I am sure in the next couple of years most rikishi will figure them out, but until then Hokuseiho is going to have a bit of an advantage. I just wish Ichinojo was still around and healthy to play with him. A Hokuseiho win is kachi-koshi for him.

Ura (3-6) vs Hokutofuji (4-5) – This match will be fun because of who is in it, and maybe Ura can find that 4th win. He is almost certain to end the tournament make-koshi at this point, but I would like to see him have a highlight reel worthy moment before it’s all done on Sunday. Ura has a 9-2 career lead over Hokutofuji.

Mitakeumi (6-3) vs Nishikigi (3-6) – On day 9 Nishikigi underscored that in the current sumo world, anyone can beat anyone else if the stars align. Unlike Takakeisho, Mitakeumi is happy to fight yotsu-zumo style, and owns a commanding 6-1 career record against Nishikigi.

Tobizaru (4-5) vs Midorifuji (3-6) – Given Midorifuji’s 4-1 career record against Tobizaru, the idea outcome would be a Midorifuji win, and both having 4-6 scores to end the day. There may be a bit of Darwin funneling going on, but if there is its not nearly as overt as it has been in prior tournaments.

Shodai (4-5) vs Abi (4-5) – A good outcome for both of these knuckleheads would be day 15 Darwin matches. But for today I want to see Shodai bring out the Wall of Daikon and use it to bodily force Abi to back away. Of course this means Abi is going to launch Shodai into the upper deck with a big thrust. Shodai has a 9-5 career lead.

Kiribayama (7-2) vs Wakamotoharu (7-2) – Today’s Ozeki hopeful’s pairing will eliminate one of them from the yusho race, and make the reach for double digits much more difficult. Kiribayama holds a 5-3 career advantage, but Wakamotoharu has been fighting very well this month. Could be a big battle, and possibly the highlight of day 10.

Daieisho (6-3) vs Kotoshoho (1-8) – Daieisho has been knocked back and likely out of the double digit club by his back to back losses to Midorifuji and Kiribayama. I expect him to come blazing back today against hapless Kotoshoho who is already make-koshi.

Nishikifuji (2-7) vs Hoshoryu (6-3) – Likewise one has to wonder about Hoshoryu. He has had 2 fusensho wins already, and got pasted by Wakamotoharu on day 9. He’s probably out of the double digit club as well, but if he focuses on his sumo he can still make a strong showing. I don’t think he’s in any danger of make-koshi, but he had some aspirations of higher rank that are going to be in a holding pattern for now.

Kinbozan (3-6) vs Takakeisho (6-3) – First ever match for these two, and I find myself hoping that Takakeisho can find 2 more wins before Sunday. I think the odds are good all things being equal, but he is not looking very strong or dominant right now. Kinbozan at 3-6 would be wise to go for the mawashi at all costs. He is going to get a thrusting broadside either way, he may as well roll the dice and see if he can get lucky.

Terunofuji (8-1) vs Kotonowaka (4-5) – I would not expect Kotonowaka to give Terunofuji too much trouble unless the Yokozuna has re-injured one of his many faulty body parts in the last couple of days. Terunofuji holds a 5-0 career lead.

3 thoughts on “Natsu Day 10 Preview

  1. Ummm, just saw this on the JSA site…

    “East Maegashira #2 Takayasu (Tagonoura Beya)
    has returned from the Day 11 of the May Tournament.”
    Why ????

  2. Hum….Seem like there was quite a lot of Kujos announced today.
    Chiyonokuni (retiring ?!), Enho (!!!) and Kotoshoho.
    But Takayasu returning…tommorow ? What ?!?

    Hope Tachiai team will shed some light on all that in the days to come.


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