Day 5 is upon us. To this point, Terunofuji has joined Wakatakakage and Takakeisho on the couch while Kirishima is back. Only Nishikigi, Takayasu, and Gonoyama remain undefeated. A few wrestlers appear to be in serious trouble of significant demotions if they can’t turn things around, including Ryuden and Daishoho. Let’s see what’s on tap for tonight.
Roga (1-3) vs Bushozan (1-3): Roga visits from Juryo and faces a Bushozan who’s faced a difficult schedule packed with solid veterans and the Miyagino-phenom, Hakuoho. Unfortunately for Bushozan, his schedule won’t get much easier. There are several solid, grizzled veteran fighters left to face. Roga and Bushozan have faced each other thrice before with Bushozan holding the slight edge. Bushozan will need this win.
Endo (3-1) vs Takarafuji (3-1): These two veterans know each other well but aren’t used to fighting this low on the banzuke. Endo has seemed the healthier of the two so far and comes off a close loss to Aoiyama. If he could learn how not to be a punching bag, I think he’d be Ozeki already. If Takarafuji were smart, he’d come out with guns blazing.
Ryuden (0-4) vs Hakuoho (3-1): Ryuden has looked terrible. This is a first time meeting for the pair and Ryuden’s likely desperate for a win, so I would expect whatever tricks he can pull. Mobility is usually Ryuden’s strongpoint but he’s been hampered with injury. This will be a long tournament.
Aoiyama (2-2) vs Shonannoumi (3-1): This is a very interesting first-time match-up. Shonannoumi is a big guy and I’m eager to see how he deals with Aoiyama’s firepower. Will he retreat, attempt to evade and misdirect? Or go at him head-on and attempt to contain and drive forward?
Chiyoshoma (2-2) vs Daishoho (0-4): Desperation must be setting in for Daishoho. He’s still got to face a lot of talented veterans but he will have a reprieve from fighting stablemate Endo.
Kotoshoho (1-3) vs Tsurugisho (1-3): I cannot get over Tsurugisho’s surprise win over Kinbozan last night. It just looked so effortless. The upper-body power might be good enough to pick off several wins, even if his trunk is injured and not as mobile as he should be. Kotoshoho seems puzzled and frustrated. Maybe his sumo is just not working? Both need wins. Who will stay calm and claim it?
Kotoeko (3-1) vs Gonoyama (4-0): Another first-time bout and an exciting one as both men are fighting well. Surely one to circle.
Takanosho (0-4) vs Myogiryu (1-3): Takanosho seems to be due a win or two by now. He doesn’t appear to be in bad shape but his sumo isn’t working and so far his opponents have found ways to shut him down. Other than Sadanoumi, at 1-3 his other opponents are a combined 11-2 and tearing up the division. Struggling Myogiryu might be the confidence boost he needs to turn things around.
Kinbozan (2-2) vs Nishikifuji (3-1): Kinbozan has the distinct size advantage here but hasn’t found a way to beat Nishikifuji yet. Contain, focus on your footwork and control the pace. An opportunity should present itself.
Sadanoumi (1-3) vs Hokutofuji (3-1): Sadanoumi’s frustrated while Hokutofuji’s probably lucked into a couple of wins. If Sadanoumi can get inside and establish his brand of sumo, he’ll win. If he gets battered and slammed down, he’ll be a fish stick.
Tamawashi (3-1) vs Onosho (1-3): Opposite records here but Tamawashi has shown some weakness. I give Onosho the same advice as Kinbozan and Sadanoumi. Be patient and focus on fundamentals.
Hiradoumi (1-3) vs Takayasu (4-0): I don’t need to give any advice to Takayasu. He’s doing just fine. Just keep doing what your doing.
Oho (2-2) vs Ura (2-2): There’s really little containing Ura. Pray he makes a mistake. But both men have had a decent start to the tournament and have no need to panic or take risks.
Asanoyama (3-1) vs Hokuseiho (2-2): These two have split their first two meetings. I think Asanoyama wants it more. That was a great comeback throw last night. Do it again.
Midorifuji (0-4) vs Mitakeumi (0-4): The good news is someone will win this bout. Mitakeumi appears the more hurt while Midorifuji has been getting destroyed by guys who are bigger than him. Mitakeumi is a guy who’s a lot bigger than him. It doesn’t look good.
Kotonowaka (2-2) vs Shodai (2-2): Kotonowaka has a bit of a size advantage here and I think he’ll make good use of it. He’s certainly no fusen freebie.
Hoshoryu (3-1) vs Abi (3-1): Aside from the opener against Terunofuji, Abi has been active and out punching his opponents. Hoshoryu will have his hands full and could drop another one tonight.
Nishikigi (4-0) vs Wakamotoharu (3-1): Nishikigi has a 30kg advantage against Wakamotoharu, and he has momentum and confidence. Just what the doctor ordered for someone to be put in their place.
Meisei (2-2) vs Daieisho (3-1): Daieisho will want vengeance. Sadly, Meisei will satisfy him.
Tobizaru (1-3) vs Kirishima (1-1-2): Tobizaru seemed gassed last night. He’ll be on better form tonight. That’s unfortunate for Kirishima. The jury is still out as to whether he should be back but he did have a strong showing against Kotonowaka.