Kirishima lost a heartbreaker last night but Tobizaru lives for such mischief. He can turn it around against the daikon, and he needs to get as many wins as he can this week against Maegashira before he hits the meat of his schedule next week. He cannot afford to drop these bouts.
Endo (4-1) vs Mitoryu (3-2): Mitoryu visits from Juryo tonight to face Endo. Obviously a first time meeting because Mitoryu has not been ranked higher than M15 and Endo is usually around the top half of Makuuchi. I would expect Endo to be challenged but win handily.
Aoiyama (2-3) vs Takarafuji (3-2): Aoiyama had dominated this rivalry but has dropped 5 of their last 6 matches. Maybe Takarafuji has figured something out? Aoiyama’s brand of sumo is rather predictable. I will try to pay close attention to how Takarafuji attempts to disrupt Aoiyama’s tsuppari/hatakikomi combo.
Daishoho (1-4) vs Bushozan (1-4): Daishoho “sprung to life” against Chiyoshoma but he will not have the same size advantage against Bushozan. Being big is not a strategy that gets you far in Makuuchi and that seems to be Daishoho’s main strategy. He and Chiyoshoma are the same height but at 196kg he had a 60kg advantage last night. Chiyoshoma was not going to throw him. Bushozan, though, is shorter but at 171kg he’s a more substantial threat than Chiyoshoma was, and thus leads their rivalry.
Gonoyama (5-0) vs Hakuoho (3-2): That left shoulder is already a big concern for viewers of Hakuoho’s bouts so far. If he’s got to reach with that left arm, he’s uncomfortable and hasn’t figured out an effective alternative in those situations. Let’s see if Gonoyama capitalizes.
Ryuden (1-4) vs Kotoshoho (2-3): Given Ryuden’s injury troubles, this one should be over quickly.
Chiyoshoma (2-3) vs Shonannoumi (4-1): A first-time meeting for the two. Chiyoshoma struggled with big Daishoho. Shonannoumi is big, too, but he’s tall. That might translate into top-heavy and prone to one of Chiyoshoma’s slap down or pulldown attacks. It should be an interesting bout. If Shonannoumi wins, that’s another sign that he could stick around in this division for a while.
Takanosho (0-5) vs Tsurugisho (1-4): The real question here is whether one of these guys goes kyujo.
Kotoeko (3-2) vs Hokutofuji (4-1): Kotoeko has not found a solution for Hokutofuji, yet. I don’t think he’s had some epiphany that would change that. It should be a good bout but it should also be a win for Hokutofuji where Kotoeko is beer-battered like a fillet of cod.
Sadanoumi (1-4) vs Kinbozan (3-2): Sadanoumi needs to crawl out of this hole but Kinbozan will be a challenge. Sadanoumi has won their only previous meeting.
Myogiryu (2-3) vs Nishikifuji (3-2): Myogiryu will not be happy with his record so far while Nishikifuji started by tearing into some underperformers. I think Myogiryu will level their records.
Hiradoumi (1-4) vs Tamawashi (4-1): Lately I’ve been expecting high-energy bouts from Tamawashi, and I get disappointed. This time I will expect a low-energy, high-efficiency (read: boring) slap-down victory.
Takayasu (5-0) vs Onosho (1-4): I can sense the desperation from Onosho. He can certainly play a spoiler role today and block Takayasu’s path.
Asanoyama (3-2) vs Oho (2-3): Asanoyama’s been a mixed bag this tournament: flashes of the big, skilled Ozeki, with some signs of rust. These two have split their 2 previous bouts. I honestly could see this going either way.
Hokuseiho (3-2) vs Ura (3-2): Every time I’m ready to say, “Hokuseiho’s not ready for this level and has lots to learn,” he defeats a guy like Asanoyama, whom I would think should pick him apart. He’s beaten Ura in their only previous meeting but it would be silly to underestimate the little guy. In order to win, Ura needs to get behind Hokuseiho.
Mitakeumi (0-5) vs Tobizaru (2-3): Oh, boy. Tobizaru FTW and Mitakeumi for the kyujo.
Nishikigi (5-0) vs Abi (3-2): Everyone’s asking, “is Nishikigi for real?” Abi has really had his number so this will be another big chance to get dirt on Nishikigi. No henka, please. Just volley after volley of tsuppari.
Kotonowaka (3-2) vs Daieisho (4-1): Daieisho is dialed in and eager for promotion. I don’t think Kotonowaka will shutdown those brutal thrusts.
Hoshoryu (4-1) vs Midorifuji (1-4): Midorifuji holds a 6-3 advantage in this rivalry? Maybe that’s the kind of stat to give him confidence and turn this ship around.
Meisei (2-3) vs Wakamotoharu (3-2): Despite his record, Meisei has looked strong and faced a lot of quality. There’s no shame in his losses so far and no shame in taking an L here, either. Regroup and clean up against the maegashira in Week 2.
Shodai (2-3) vs Kirishima (1-2-2): The new Ozeki needs this one.