A lot of excellent action last night, with a dash of controversy. Hakuoho and several of the young guns impressed. But was Tobizaru dead? Why did no one bother to look? It may have just been a missed call or a conscious decision that the off-balance, tumbling monkey didn’t deserve to win. Frankly, that’s my view but why not throw in a torinaoshi; have them do it again. Well, we’ll put that aside as we gear up for Day 2 with the expectation that the debate will fire back up as Hoshoryu inches closer to 12 wins.
Kagayaki (J1-0) vs Hakuoho (1-0): Hakuoho took a battering from Aoiyama but emerged victorious. Kagayaki visits from Juryo tonight and will have much the same game plan, though a bit less forceful. Hakuoho’s left shoulder, though, is a bit of a concern and might present an opportunity to Kagayaki.
Aoiyama (0-1) vs Bushozan (0-1): We saw Aoiyama on the offense against Hakuoho but Bushozan didn’t get to illustrate much of his brand of sumo last night as he fell, quickly and easily, to Endo. Expect guns blazing from Aoiyama and possibly another quick bout.
Ryuden (0-1) vs Endo (1-0): Endo holds the numerical edge in this rivalry and certainly put his best face forward last night, while Ryuden just fell face forward. Ryuden has won their last few meetings but Endo’s a different challenge for Ryuden, compared to Takarafuji, and likely a healthier opponent. We’ll get a better sense tonight if Ryuden belongs kyujo and if Endo can put together a strong run.
Takarafuji (1-0) vs Shonannoumi (1-0): “Down. Go down.” Takarafuji had one plan against Ryden, and it worked. I don’t think that he will find the same success tonight against Shonannoumi, without changing things up. A long bout would seem to favor Shonannoumi.
Daishoho (0-1) vs Kotoshoho (0-1): After his loss yesterday, Kotoshoho seemed to stare at the heavens and wonder, “why am I here?” If he loses convincingly again today, I think we’ll all wonder the same thing.
Chiyoshoma (1-0) vs Gonoyama (1-0): Chiyoshoma will face a healthier opponent today, certainly one who can fight back with more than token resistance. It’s also their first ever meeting. I expect this bout to be a highlight bout from the bottom third of the division.
Kotoeko (1-0) vs Tsurugisho (0-1): Kotoeko was rather dominant in his win over Myogiryu while Tsurugisho appeared lame, unable to press forward with the left leg. This could be another quick one.
Kinbozan (0-1) vs Myogiryu (0-1): Young gun on his way up meets grizzled veteran on his way down in their first ever clash. Kinbozan needs this one.
Takanosho (0-1) vs Hokutofuji (1-0): Hokutofuji was on his game last night while Takanosho may have had a bit of that ring rust. Both are ranked a bit lower than their talents suggest so they should have good tournaments but Hokutofuji should have the edge in this bout.
Sadanoumi (0-1) vs Nishikifuji (1-0): Nishikifuji is no Tamawashi. Sadanoumi should be able to wrangle him and knotch a victory tonight.
Takayasu (1-0) vs Tamawashi (1-0): Expect fireworks. I have no idea who will win but I’m eager to see both of these geezers try.
Hokuseiho (1-0) vs Oho (0-1): This will be another exciting clash. They’ve split their first two meetings but after watching Hokuseiho dismantle Onosho, Oho may just be a bigger bump on the road to the joi-jin.
Hiradoumi (1-0) vs Onosho (0-1): Hiradoumi is ready while we didn’t get to see much of an attack from Onosho. Hopefully Hokuseiho knocked the ring-rust loose and Onosho comes back with the quality we’ve seen before.
Asanoyama (0-1) vs Ura (0-1): Asanoyama needs to bounce back from that loss to Meisei. He seemed to have the edge but the desperation lunge caught Asanoyama out. Ura’s whole thing seems to be desperation acrobatics at the edge. Asanoyama needs this, so he’ll need to keep his wits about him and not let Ura do anything crazy.
Kotonowaka (1-0) vs Meisei (1-0): These guys are evenly matched demonstrated by the 4-4 record in this rivalry. Meisei did what he needed to win against Asanoyama. Will the confidence boost from that upset carry over to tonight?
Midorifuji (1-0) vs Abi (0-1): Is it as surprising to you as it is to me that Abi has never beaten Midorifuji? After seeing how stablemate and Yokozuna, Terunofuji, completely dismantled Abi’s big guns, maybe it shouldn’t. I would normally expect Abi to blast Midorifuji, repeatedly, and pick up the win. I will pay closer attention tonight to see if Abi is actually able to use his main weapon.
Hoshoryu (1-0) vs Shodai (0-1): We saw dreadful sumo from both of these guys last night. Shodai is nowhere near as mobile or dynamic as Tobizaru, however, so should be easy prey for the dragon.
Tobizaru (0-1) vs Wakamotoharu (1-0): Tobizaru snatched defeat from the jaws of victory yesterday with that wild, off-balance display. Wakamotoharu will need to contain him.
Mitakeumi (0-1) vs Daieisho (1-0): I’m eagerly anticipating this fight. Mitakeumi came in a bit high last night and was shown the exit…but at least he looks healthy. Daieisho has fire in his belly and laser-guided tsuppari. Of the three Ozeki candidates, I thought he put on the most convincing performance.
Terunofuji (1-0) vs Nishikigi (1-0): We haven’t seen Nishikigi in action yet but that shouldn’t matter. Terunofuji should dismantle Nishikigi with the ease that he displayed against Abi.