Nagoya Day 11 Preview

With day 11, we are at the start of the third and final act of the 2023 Nagoya basho. Act 3 is where we sort everyone into make-koshi or kachi-kochi, and someone wins the yusho. We will start to see the schedule include matches with huge rank gaps, as we are going to see a tendency toward “interesting” combinations, or matches to keep the three groups – kachi-koshi, make-koshi, and middle / Darwin, guided toward their outcomes. We also have two story lines that will wrap up in the final 5 days.

Ozeki Hopefuls – there are three of them: Daieisho, Hoshoryu and Wakamotoharu, all who might possible hit 33 wins and make a bid to be promoted. Daieisho needs 11 wins (must win 3 of his final 5 matches), Hoshoryu needs 12 wins (must win 4 of his 5 remaining matches), and Wakamotoharu needs 12 wins (must win all of his final 5 matches). Odds are best that Daieisho makes it, about even for Hoshoryu, and growing mighty slim for Wakamotoharu. With each of them entering the “hard” part of their schedule, this is where the losses may show up and scuttle their runs. Also, do not be surprised if the NSK decide to make some or all of them who get to 33 wait another tournament for whatever reason they cook up.

Yusho Race – The schedulers now have 2 men with 9-1 records, and ideally they could get dirt on both of them one more time leading into the final weekend to open up the race to Daieisho and Hoshoryu, which would cause the Ozeki run and the yusho race to intersect. I am not sure what kami is powering Nishikigi right now, but it’s on a mission and wants our adorable bottom heavy cinderella to contend until the end.

Nagoya Leaderboard

Nishikigi continues to have the better path to the yusho, having already defeated the san’yaku in week 1. Hokutofuji starts his tour through the named ranks today, and we may see some of the best sumo of his career.

Leaders: Nishikigi, Hokutofuji
Chasers: Hoshoryu, Daieisho, Endo
Hunter Group: Wakamotoharu, Shonannoumi, Hakuoho

5 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 11

Daishoho (4-6) vs Ryuden (6-4) – Ryuden’s straight ahead sumo on day 10 against Myogiryu would be an excellent plan for today. He has a 5-3 career record against the much heavier Daishoho. They will both likely try to go chest to chest, so it will come down to Ryuden getting his preferred grip at the Tachiai, or if Daishoho can shut it down.

Chiyoshoma (5-5) vs Bushozan (2-8) – Bushozan is already make-koshi at 2-8, so he may be set for a trip on the Juryo barge back to the lower division. I look forward to lksumo’s prognostication on the subject in the coming week. Will that motivate him to try and get to a 7-8 final score to ease his drop, or will he let Chiyoshoma take him apart? Hey, isn’t it about time for a henka?

Aoiyama (4-6) vs Tsurugisho (3-7) – A loss today would have make-koshi for Tsurugisho, and I think that with a 5-3 career advantage, Aoiyama has at least a decent chance of getting that result. They are both hurt, moving poorly, and unable to execute the kind of sumo that wins matches for them. Should be a genuine struggle with heaping servings of painful expressions and winces of agony.

Kinbozan (6-4) vs Kotoshoho (3-7) – Kotoshoho’s next loss will be make-koshi for him, but he’s ranked high enough at M13 that he should be safe from the demotion queue. Kinbozan lost their only prior match, day 1 of Natsu, by yorikiri. Expect he will have a better defense set up this time.

Sadanoumi (2-8) vs Kotoeko (4-6) – Sadanoumi is hurt, and not likely to be able to generate much if any sumo offensive power. I have to wonder if he’s being used to “rescue” scores of some other rikishi, or it’s simply a matter of “he has to fight someone”. At 4-6, Kotoeko needs every win he can find. Kotoeko holds a 10-5 career advantage.

Takayasu (5-5) vs Hakuoho (7-3) – First ever match, and I wonder if Takayasu has enough energy and health left to give this guy a solid fight. Normally I criticize Takayasu’s “wild man sumo”, but I think in this match it would be the best approach. I am not sure Hakuoho has ever fought against a bear that has the strength of two bears. A win today for Hakuoho would be kachi-koshi.

Hokuseiho (4-6) vs Myogiryu (5-5) – Time for Myogiryu to try the turn and push trick with Hakuho’s giant. I can’t help but wonder if Hokuseiho was robbed of a win on day 10 against Shodai. I am sure his oyakata told him “Them’s the breaks, kid!” At the end of the day. He beat Myogiryu in their only prior match, which was day 11 of Osaka.

Gonoyama (6-4) vs Onosho (5-5) – This is a high interest match to me. You have two pretty strong rikishi, both with middling records headed for a likely day 15 Darwin match. Onosho will take this if Gonoyama makes the mistake that Wakamotoharu made on day 10 – keeping his hips and his shoulders square to Onosho and just soaking up all of that forward power Onosho can deliver. Word to the wise, hit and move, hit and move. Keep one foot back and keep your hips at 28°

Hiradoumi (3-7) vs Takanosho (5-5) – Takanosho comes in on a hot streak, with a blistering 5 wins in a row. Should he extend his run to 6, he will send plucky Hiradoumi to make-koshi on day 11. Hiradoumi holds a 2-1 career lead, winning both prior matches this year.

Nishikifuji (5-5) vs Ura (4-6) – On paper looks like a clear Ura win. But given how tenderly Ura was moving about after his day 10 loss to Kirishima, I am not even sure we will see Ura in action today. Nishikifuji has been struggling since he started a losing streak on day 4, so maybe a win today against a struggling Ura is just what Nishikifuji needs.

Midorifuji (3-7) vs Oho (3-7) – So a bit of a mini-Darwin here. Both of these guys have 7 losses, and are pretty clearly not up to fighting at the rank to which they were posted. So the loser of today’s match will be make-koshi for July. Midorifuji has won 5 of their 8 prior matches, although Oho won their match during the Natsu basho in Tokyo.

Shodai (4-6) vs Mitakeumi (2-8) – 32 career matches, with Mitakeumi holding a narrow 18-14 lead. Both of them are fighting well below their peak capabilities, and it’s kind of down to who wants the win more. Mitakeumi is already make-koshi, but up until the middle weekend, Shodai did not really seem to have any motivation.

Meisei (4-6) vs Tobizaru (5-5) – Another pair with middling records, both of them are strong candidates for day 15 “Darwin” matches. Tobizaru with a slightly better record at 5-5 has been fighting better this month. But their overall career 6-6 record would indicate they are evenly matched. Both have won a match this year, so this should be a strong head to head contest.

Nishikigi (9-1) vs Endo (8-2) – I adore this match. I love this match. This was a stroke of genius. Endo has beaten Nishikigi in 7 out of their 8 prior matches. But wait – their most recent match, day 2 of Kyushu 2022, was Nishikigi’s win. Both are already kachi-koshi, and lord only knows how this one is going to play out. I am certain they will try to go chest to chest at the tachiai. Hopefully Nishikigi is ready to block Endo’s left hand at the first step.

Takarafuji (6-4) vs Abi (4-6) – The second 15 rank gap match in a row, we have an even 6-6 career head to head between the master of defend and extend and the all out double arm thrusting attack master. Neither one of them are in top form this July, plus its hotter than Satan’s front porch in the venue. But this should be a fun contest.

Kotonowaka (6-4) vs Shonannoumi (7-3) – They could not quite muster another 15 rank gap match, so they had to settle for 14. You might think this one is going the way of the Komusubi, no questions asked. But no sir! These two have fought twice before, and split them 1:1. These were back when Kotonowaka was known as Kotokamatani. They had a match on day 15 of Osaka 2019 that Kotonowaka won, and then all the way back on day 3 of Hatsu 2017, Shonannoumi won. Hey, Act 3 is all about these kind of fights. Bring them on!

Hoshoryu (8-2) vs Tamawashi (6-4) – Ok, the fun stuff is good, but it’s time to torture some Ozeki hopefuls, and maybe a yusho race leader too. Hoshoryu has dominated his matches with Tamawashi at 7-3 over their careers, winning 6 of the last 7 matches. So it’s a fair chance that he will dominate Tamawashi today. That being said, don’t count Tamawashi out. He may want to play spoiler, and give a most potent nodowa to Hoshoryu for good measure.

Hokutofuji (9-1) vs Wakamotoharu (7-3) – As mentioned above, Wakamotoharu has to win all of his final 5 matches to reach 33 wins. Put that up against a surprisingly genki Hokutofuji who needs to win to stay in the leader slot for the yusho race. Make sure you have a big glass of sake and a bowl of popcorn for this one. I predict fireworks.

Daieisho (8-2) vs Kirishima (4-4-2) – Daieisho comes up against the lone, partially functioning Ozeki. He needs 3 wins out of his final 5 to hit 33, and I wonder how much sumo Kirishima can deliver. He needs 4 of his last 5 to avoid kadoban for September, which is most likely why he came back to competition after going kyujo, and still appearing to be hurt. The career score is 7-6, narrowly in Kirishima’s favor, with Kirishima winning the majority of their prior matches this year.

9 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 11 Preview

  1. Bushozan is the leading candidate to captain the juryo barge, and must win out to avoid making that trip. Kotoshoho is far from safe; he is third in the demotion queue as things currently stand (behind only Bushozan and Aoiyama), and needs 3 more wins to stay off the barge.

    • We know by now that Bruce has his own (alternative) maths…
      Still thank U for your fast clarification.

  2. I think Hokutofuji fades big time, probably starting today. My fellow four-eyes looks to be in the mix till the end.

  3. I’ve tended to think of Kotonowaka in the same league as the other sekiwake for the last few basho at least. What is the criteria for moving up from komosubi? Just kachi-koshi?

    • Usually that’s the case, yes. The only way that might not happen is a “low level” kachi-koshi (i.e. 8-7) and all of the Sekiwake maintaining their rank.

      • And this special way of not attaining promotion has now happened to Kotonowaka three times in a row, and a fourth already on the horizon. Could be some kind of record.

    • For Sekiwake promotion there is no hard and fast rule. If there is a vacant slot, i.e S1E or S1W, then just kachi koshi from Komusubi will get promoted. In case there is no vacant slot, a good result like 10 or more wins can create extra slot S2.


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