Nagoya Day 10 Preview

With the start of day 10, we are at the conclusion of the second act of the 2023 Nagoya basho. At Tachiai, we divide a 15 day tournament up into 3 acts of 5 days. Each act has its own goals and purpose in the grand scheme of the tournament. 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. The three rikishi who are tied for the lead in the race for the Emperor’s Cup have been holding strong since the middle weekend, and stand a reasonable chance of making it through today with 9 wins. Then the fun will start.

For the three rikishi who are hoping to rack up their 33rd win this July, and make a bid to be promoted to Ozeki, the warm ups are coming to a close, and the brutal zero-sum game will begin. Some readers have taken exception to my suggestion that all 3 of them reaching 33 is mathematically unlikely. It’s not impossible mind you, just unlikely. Given the lack of anyone fighting at Yokozuna or Ozeki power to test them against, this is the best time ever to try and run up the score, so maybe all 3 of them can manage to thread the needed without knocking each other out of the race.

Nagoya Leaderboard

All 3 of the leaders have a strong chance to win their day 10 matches, advancing them to 9-1. Not quite double digits yet, but all 3 are already kachi-koshi. Barring something very odd, the hunt group would be unlikely to contest at this point, as we would need to see losses among all 3 leaders to open things up. I am certain the scheduling team is working on solutions to try and bring that about in act 3.

Leadesr: Hoshoryu, Nishikigi, Hokutofuji
Chasesr: Daieisho, Wakamotoharu, Endo
Hunt Group: Tamawashi, Shonannoumi, Takarafuji, Hakuoho

6 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 10

Bushozan (2-7) vs Shonannoumi (6-3) – Bushozan really surprised on day 9 against Takarafuji, but unless he found some useful reserve of sumo power in the bottom of his akene, he’s going to end up make-koshi some time in the coming week. His match today against Shonannoumi is a real opportunity for Shonannoumi, as he is fighting at a pace that might see him clear double digits for his 3rd time in the last 4 tournaments. They share a 2-2 career record, with Bushozan taking the last match on day 5 of Natsu.

Gonoyama (5-4) vs Takarafuji (6-3) – I really want to see Gonoyama not go through a horrible, Goeido-style out of the blue losing streak. But here we are. At the same time, I would prefer to see Takarafuji reach the safety of 8, and avoid a demotion to Juryo, This is their first ever match.

Aoiyama (3-6) vs Kotoshoho (3-6) – Both start the day 3-6, in the make-koshi bracket, Normally I would think Aoiyama would just pound the stuffing out of a smaller guy like Kotoshoho, but “Big Dan” is lacking most of his power right now. He holds a 4-2 career lead against Kotoshoho, who might be less hurt than Aoiyama today.

Chiyoshoma (5-4) vs Endo (7-2) – A win today would give Endo his 8th, and kachi-koshi for Nagoya. He has a 7-7 record with Chiyoshoma, so it will be a tough and even match. Chiyoshoma has won 3 of his last 4, so he’s coming in to day 10 in fighting form.

Kotoeko (4-5) vs Hakuoho (6-3) – First ever match, and I think Kotoeko is going to have his hands full. Fresh off a loss to Daishoho on day 9, Hakuoho has 3 losses now, and appears to be getting some tough exposure to just how good the men in the top division actually are. It’s possible that he’s thrilled about it, as greatness often struggles to find worthy competition or anyone to pace against.

Ryuden (5-4) vs Myogiryu (5-4) – Both rikishi are 5-4, and in the middle or “Darwin” lane for today. They also share an even 5-5 career record, making this a highly balanced match.

Takanosho (4-5) vs Daishoho (4-5) – Another middle or “Darwin” lane match up, this time it features a resurgent Takanosho who has won the last 4 in a row. He’s against Daishoho who has won 4 of his last 5. This means two rikishi on a hot surge are going to try and break the other’s streak, with Daishoho having a 7-2 career advantage.

Sadanoumi (2-7) vs Tsurugisho (2-7) – A “make-koshi” pair, with the loser today scoring their 8th loss of July. Tsurugisho is visibly in pain, and is unable to move very much at all, so I see him as an easy mark for Sadanoumi, who had a solid win against Takayasu on day 9.

Takayasu (5-4) vs Kinbozan (5-4) – I am still trying to understand how Takayasu can go 5-0, then 0-4. I can only come up with a renewed injury to one of his multiple problems. It’s tough to watch, and I am certain that Kinbozan is looking forward to fighting a hurt Takayasu.

Hokutofuji (8-1) vs Tamawashi (6-3) – First match featuring one of the leaders. Hokutofuji has been showing us a refined and incredibly sharp version of this familiar technique, and it’s laying waste to everyone he’s using it against. He has an 8-10 record against Tamawashi, who has now lost 2 in a row.

Nishikifuji (4-5) vs Oho (3-6) – Oho has won 5 of their 8 prior matches, and I am certain he is looking to score a win of some kind today to try and pull himself away from the make-koshi lane. His sumo has not been flashy or noteworthy since he joined the top division, but it has brought him a pair of double digit kachi-koshi in the past year. Where that sumo is today, nobody knows, but word on the street his deshi are looking everywhere for it.

Shodai (3-6) vs Hokuseiho (4-5) – First ever match between Shodai and Hakuho’s giant. I hope Shodai has noticed the move that Takanosho employed day 9. When the giant goes to reach over your body and get a right hand grip, just help him keep turning. Works a treat to set up okuridashi.

Nishikigi (8-1) vs Meisei (4-5) – I think of the leader team, this may be the tougher match. Meisei is not starting day 10 with a blazing score, but he has won 2 of the last 3, and seems to be more dialed into his sumo now than he was the first week. But I keep thinking of that look that Tobizaru gave Nishikigi following their match, a clear “Where did that come from?” if ever I saw one.

Midorifuji (2-7) vs Tobizaru (5-4) – Tobizaru has an opportunity to deliver an 8th loss to Midorifuji and render him make-koshi for July. He has only beaten Midorifuji twice in their 6 prior matches, so the flying monkey has his work cut out for him. Both are high-mobility, high-strength fighters that can make surprising moves during a fight. Let the fireworks fly.

Mitakeumi (1-8) vs Abi (4-5) – Not sure what to say about this match. I am pretty sure Mitakeumi is going to lose this one. I wish he wouldn’t, but I think he’s got too much going on in his personal life this week for him to execute top form sumo.

Onosho (4-5) vs Wakamotoharu (7-2) – Wakamotoharu should be able to take this win, as long as he can keep Onosho from getting a clear shot at center mass. Wakamotoharu’s goal will be to take Onosho to his chest and shut down Onosho’s thrusting attacks. If he can do that, should be a straightforward win. They share an even 1-1 career record.

Hiradoumi (3-6) vs Daieisho (7-2) – Daieisho’s in firm command of his sumo right now, so I don’t much of an opportunity for Hiradoumi to try and forge a win out of this match. Daieisho won their only prior fight, on day 13 of Hatsu. That being mentioned, Hiradoumi has the power to surprise, if he can get the right set up for his sumo.

Hoshoryu (8-1) vs Kotonowaka (5-4) – On paper this is a clear Hoshoryu win, but Kotonowaka is big enough, strong enough, and skilled enough that he can take this match. Sure Hoshoryu has won 10 of their prior 13 matches, and Kotonowaka has not won against him since Kyushu… of 2020, but hey, it could happen!

Ura (4-5) vs Kirishima (3-4-2) – Normally, Kirishima would trash Ura in a moment. But we can all see that Kirishima’s sumo is suffering because of his injuries, and he is not moving quite as well as he normally does. That gives the master of crazy combos a chance to take one from the shin-Ozeki if he can create an opening.

3 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 10 Preview

  1. If I’m Abi and I know that Mitakeumi has lost his father and is make-koshi I immediately know that I’m going to be fighting someone who is angry and has nothing to lose. That’s a terrifying combination if Mitakeumi focuses his anger in the right ways.

    • Given Abi’s track record I’m not so sure that realization won’t just draw out a henka from him.


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