Nagoya 2023: Day 3 Preview

We’ve got two days down, thirteen to go. Yes, there’s a lot of action ahead of us but we can already see some glimpses of who will have a strong tournament and who will struggle. Meisei has been a surprise with the effectiveness of his Juggernaut-sumo while Tsurugisho is unfortunately on a downhill trajectory. Let’s take a look at who they’re matched up against tonight. Offer up your take in the comments. I’m eager to hear what bout you have circled tonight.


Aoiyama (1-1) vs Atamifuji (J1-1): Aoiyama bounced back from his Day 1 loss. Obviously it’s too early to get a sense of whether he will protect his status in the top division but he will give it all he has got. Atamifuji, on the other hand, will visit from Juryo and will like to move back up into Makuuchi. Both seem healthy and both will certainly be motivated. This is a bout to watch.

Hakuoho (2-0) vs Takarafuji (1-1): Hakuoho has the fire and youth which have been missing from Uncle Takara’s sumo for quite some time.

Ryuden (0-2) vs Bushozan (0-2): Ryuden showed some signs of life today against Endo. Bushozan seems healthier, though, but a bit over his head against these veteran opponents who are really better than their current ranks. However, Endo and Aoiyama seem pretty healthy while Ryuden’s fitness still has some serious question marks. We will get more answers about these two tonight.

Endo (2-0) vs Shonannoumi (2-0): This is a first time match-up and it will be an exciting one. Endo is obviously a veteran wrestler, possibly nearing the denouement of his career. He’s 2-0 for the first time in two years and should be set for a good tournament. Shonannoumi is more of an open question at this rank, his debut in the division, though he’s nearing 10 years in the sport. Endo should have this, and it’s too early for me to put him on a yusho-run, especially since newbies get lucky sometimes.

Gonoyama (2-0) vs Daishoho (0-2): Daishoho didn’t have much to give today. The Takekuma youngster can clean up here.

Chiyoshoma (1-1) vs Kotoshoho (1-1): The way Chiyoshoma is swinging, Kotoshoho might be in line for a fat lip.

Tsurugisho (0-2) vs Myogiryu (0-2): Myogiryu has been competitive. Tsurugisho has been a push-over. I’m expecting Tsurugisho to go kyujo or get pushed over.

Kinbozan (1-1) vs Kotoeko (2-0): This should be a good battle but I am biased. I usually expect a great fight from Kotoeko. He’s my new Ikioi, always genki. But shorter. Kinbozan is developing into a great talent and should be in this division for a long time. These two are similar in height but Kinbozan has an extra 20kg. Can he leverage that weight advantage and finally best Kotoeko?

Hokutofuji (2-0) vs Nishikifuji (2-0): For some reason, I think of Nishikifuji as undersized for this division but he’s nearly the same size as Endo and the same height as tonight’s opponent, Hokutofuji. Hokutofuji only has 10kg on him which isn’t much of an advantage — and they’ve split their 4 previous meetings. The wild, ACMETM level sumo from Hokutofuji today needs to be tamed and a bit more methodical if he wants to continue winning.

Sadanoumi (0-2) vs Takanosho (0-2): Both of these guys are having the type of bad start which can be easily corrected, and turn into a healthy kachi-koshi. Neither are overtly outclassed or outwardly hurt. One will get to turn his fortunes around today. I think it will be Sadanoumi.

Tamawashi (1-1) vs Oho (1-1): Surprisingly, this is a first time pairing of these two. Oho is fresh off a good win against Hokuseiho. Tamawashi, though, is wily and I don’t think he will take kindly to a lengthy grapple. He just needs to move forward.

Hokuseiho (1-1) vs Takayasu (2-0): Hokuseiho was exposed last night by the patient Oho. Despite securing a morozashi, he could not advance against his opponent. Takayasu has started a good run and it would be a shame to see it spoiled this early. He has been ranked at M7 twice over the past 18 months and picked up double-digit wins both times. The reason is, he’s better than these mid-level rank-and-filers. He should be up in the joi or in sanyaku. Hokuseiho’s not there yet.

Onosho (1-1) vs Ura (0-2): Any bout with Ura has the potential to be a highlight. Oddly, I don’t think that will happen this time. My gut says it will be a quick win for Onosho.

Asanoyama (1-1) vs Hiradoumi (1-1): I’m not inside Asanoyama’s head but I get the sense that each time he becomes over-confident that he’s better than his opponent and deserves the win before the bout starts, he gets a wake-up call. His early slip-up against Meisei may end up being the early blemish he needs to stay grounded and to focus on the fundamentals.

Meisei (2-0) vs Abi (1-1): Fireworks. I promise them this time. Money back guarantee*. No more damp squibs.

*Guarantee void on Planet Earth.

Kotonowaka (1-1) vs Mitakeumi (0-2): Mitakeumi is still a bit of a puzzle to me this tournament. Is he ready, or did he just run headlong into a wall named Daieisho?

Midorifuji (0-2) vs Daieisho (2-0): The reason I love this sport is that momentum can change on a dime. Daieisho is having a great start to this Ozeki run while Midorifuji just got beat up by Abi. Daieisho should similarly obliterate Midorifuji with powerful tsuppari and nodowa, except coming from below, from a solid, fortified base, rather than raining from above. Or we can have all three Sekiwake lose on one night.

Hoshoryu (2-0) vs Nishikigi (2-0): You’re playing poker at a friend’s house and drew two wild cards. I have no idea what’s going to happen.

Shodai (0-2) vs Wakamotoharu (2-0): Cartoonish daikon-zumo faces another Ozeki candidate. Stay low, Onami, and this is yours.

Terunofuji (1-1) vs Tobizaru (0-2): Tobizaru does have a kinboshi from the Kaiju. But unlike Nishikigi, if Terunofuji gets the kimedashi double-arm lock against Tobizaru, the flying monkey is contained.

4 thoughts on “Nagoya 2023: Day 3 Preview

  1. Circled bout: Hoshoryu/Nishikigi. I, like you, have NO idea what’s going to happen. Which is rare in this sport.

    Other winners I feel confident about:
    Endo – he’s rested and lower on the banzuke. Add in that he could be demoted and he’s more motivated than ever.
    Myogiryu – It’s sad to see Tsurugisho reduced to ballast, but that’s what he looks like right now.
    Kotoeko – Kinbozan has a lot of potential, but he hasn’t put everything together yet and Kotoeko is dialed in right now.
    Takayasu – If Hokuseiho wants to play “who can be more patient on the dohyo”, he’ll lose. The only way I see him winning is if Takayasu slips or gets wildly overconfident. Both of those things rarely happen.
    Kotonowaka – Unless Mitakeumi isn’t injured, this match is over before it starts.
    Wakamotoharu – Shodai brought nothing to the dohyo yesterday. Something’s up with him, but what it is is anyone’s guess.


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