Aki Day 2 Preview

Day 2 features 3 high interest first ever match ups, including my favorite: Hokuseiho vs Endo. Does sheer mass bring enough advantage to overcome legendary skill and planning? Can a man who was once sumo’s golden boy of the future actually win against a portion of Tokyo’s famed Shuto Expressway?

As mentioned in my preview, I have worries that we may lose an Ozeki this tournament, and it will become evident at the end of act 1. But I am already concerned that Takakeisho is still too banged up to be much of an opponent this September. So far Kirishima seems to be doing well enough, so let’s take some hope in that.

The match with the most potential in my mind is Gonoyama vs Ura. It may look like a dud on the roster, and there is a good chance it will be. But then again the dimension bending plastic wizard of WTF sumo up against the latest GoeiDOS version just brings so much potential to the clay, that I have to see if some new form of sumo gets created today.

What We Are Watching Day 2

Kagayaki (1-0) vs Tsurugisho (0-1) – Both men are perilously close to the bottom of the banzuke, and are going to be especially focused on reaching 8 wins by the earliest possible date. We saw nothing that would indicate injury in the day 1 matches for either man, so I am going to expect this to be a full on battle of bulk vs fundamentals. Kagayaki holds a 5-3 career lead, but both have won one match against the other this year.

Atamifuji (1-0) vs Daishoho (0-1) – This is the first match the two have had in the top division, with all three priors happening in Juryo this year and last year. Atamifuji took 2 to Daishoho’s 1. I will look for Daishoho to try and set up a throw before Atamifuji can secure a hold for a yorikiri.

Chiyoshoma (1-0) vs Kotoshoho (0-1) – I have been waiting for Kotoshoho to bounce back since March. This means I am eagerly seeking any clue that he is past the injury that took him kyujo in May and helped propel him this far down the banzuke. He is fairly evenly matched against Chiyoshoma, who will try to disrupt as much of Kotoshoho’s attacks as he can. They share a 3-4 career record.

Myogiryu (1-0) vs Nishikifuji (0-1) – Nishikifuji has only had one strong showing this year, in Osaka with a 10-5 score. Nothing I have seen so far indicates that he is still fighting hurt, so maybe he can bring his best sumo to bare against Myogiryu, who holds the advantage in their 4-2 career record. Nishikifuji has won 2 of the 3 matches they have fought so far this year.

Aoiyama (0-1) vs Sadanoumi (1-0) – An impressive 23 career matches between the two, with a 12-11 split narrowly favoring Aoiyama. But given his banged up condition, I don’t think Big Dan has much of an advantage today. Sadanoumi has won 3 of their last 4, but notably Aoiyama won their most recent match, day 15 at Nagoya. When Aoiyama wins, it tends to be a pull down or slap down, so I will look for one of those early in the match before Sadanoumi can apply too much pressure.

Mitakeumi (1-0) vs Takarafuji (1-0) – Another long rivalry, with 15 carrier matches favoring Mitakeumi 11-4, with their first match happening in 2015! Takarafuji’s chance to take his 5th win from the Original Tadpole today will come down to him getting a working grip early, and being able to defend and extend against Mitakeumi’s forward pressure.

Hokuseiho (0-1) vs Endo (0-1) – First ever match between these two. For sumo nerds, this is one fascinating match. You have the enormity of Hokuseiho, who so far has shown us very little technique beyond being huge. Endo is a master of technique, and can always be counted on to plan something out, no matter how hurt he is. What will Hokuseiho do in response? I can’t wait to find out. A good size vs skill match.

Kotoeko (1-0) vs Kinbozan (1-0) – Both men won their opening day match, and both of them are looking strong and genki right now. All three of their prior matches were this year, with Kotoeko taking 2 to Kinbozan’s 1. Their matches tend to feature a lot of rapid combos and a fair amount of lateral motion, so I am expecting a nice fight.

Midorifuji (0-1) vs Hiradoumi (0-1) – Midorifuji have been disappointed by his performance this summer, with him having make-koshi results for both Natsu and Nagoya. It did not help at all that he lost his opening day match against Kinbozan. To heap on the gloom, he has yet to win in 2 tries against Hiradoumi. Is it time for a crowd pleasing katasukashi? Please say yes.

Onosho (1-0) vs Oho (0-1) – Oho fights well against Onosho. Possibly because Onosho gets into a rut where he is strictly and east-west fighter, though we can see him use a lot of good lateral motion when the mood hits him. Defeating Onosho can be a simple affair if you have the defensive acumen to endure him ramping up the forward pressure. Simply wait for him to max out his push forward, then get out of the way when he takes a step. It’s resulted in Oho having a 4-1 career record against him.

Takayasu (1-0) vs Ryuden (0-1) – They share an even 3-3 record, so it’s a even match. For Takayasu fans, we have to accept the fact that the big hairy moose has only had 10 wins over the last 2 basho. It was great to see him win day 1, but I am waiting for him to hurt something around the middle weekend.

Takanosho (1-0) vs Shonannoumi (0-1) – First ever match between these two, but in terms of size and skill it is a very even fight. If I had to guess, Shonannoumi will try to shut down Takanosho’s thrusting attack and attempt to set up a kotenage, or just go for an immediate slap down at the tachiai.

Gonoyama (1-0) vs Ura (0-1) – Another first ever match, and I am hoping that Ura is a bit more patient today than his day 1 loss against Takanosho. Ura was clearly on the attack, but was too eager to finish. He allowed Takanosho to side step a lunge forward handing Ura the loss. I am certain Gonoyama will have no trouble with that route as well, so I hope we get to see Ura pull out some magic against Goeido’s finest disciple.

Tamawashi (0-1) vs Tobizaru (0-1) – Tobizaru looked good day 1 against Kirishima, but the Ozeki was able to constrain Tobizaru’s sumo and incrementally shut him down. Tamawashi won’t even try any of that. He will put maximum power forward and try to see if he can get Tobizaru airborne. Tobizaru’s excellent mobility is why he holds a 5-3 lead in their career series.

Daieisho (0-1) vs Shodai (0-1) – Shodai once again shows why he is the heartbreak kid. He’s got oodles of talent, but for whatever reason can’t seem to deliver it when it counts. Today, we are going to see him catch a rocket sled to the chest, I would guess, as Daieisho has a lot of unexpended energy and frustration from his day 1 loss to Meisei. Daieisho leads the career series 18-8.

Kotonowaka (1-0) vs Asanoyama (1-0) – Both won their opening day matches, and Asanoyama won their only prior match – when both were in Sandanme during 2016. What does that imply for this match? Nothing! It’s no secret to readers I want Asanoyama to elbow his way into the current crop occupying the named ranks. But he’s going to have a big match today against Kotonowaka as part of that journey.

Abi (0-1) vs Wakamotoharu (0-1) – Wakamotoharu started the basho with a loss to Asanoyama, but I don’t think thats any kind of indicator that he is not at full fighting power. His fans would love to see him reach double digits and re-start hopes of a 4th Ozeki, but its all down to his health. He has only won twice against Abi in 7 attempts, so perhaps today is the day that Abi-zumo will score a first win for September.

Kirishima (1-0) vs Meisei (1-0) – The thing about Meisei, when he is dialed into his sumo, he can win against most of the current sekitori. he has a narrow 6-5 edge against Kirishima, with most of his wins coming via hatakikomi. So he’s good catching Kirishima off balance, and slamming him to the clay. Should be a fun one to watch.

Hokutofuji (1-0) vs Hoshoryu (1-0) – Hokutofuji has only ever won once against Hoshoryu in six attempts. But I am sure Hokutofuji’s inner honey badger could care less. Reading Hoshoryu’s list of kimarite against Hokutofuji, it’s a broad array of pushes, thrusts and throws, indicating that Hoshoryu’s superior mobility tends to be the deciding factor. The good thing for Hoshoryu is that Hokutofuji is very predictable with that opening nodowa at the tachiai.

Nishikigi (1-0) vs Takakeisho (0-1) – This match is simple. If Nishikigi can get a grip on Takakeisho, he wins. If Takakeisho can keep things on a strike-and-move cadence, he probably will win. The Ozeki has a 6-2 career record against Captain Battle Hug. Stay mobile, tadpole!

6 thoughts on “Aki Day 2 Preview

  1. For me Asanoyama against Kotonowaka and Hokutofuji against Asashoryu (the playoff-pairing from the last basho!) promise to be matches of the day. In both fights I‘d put my money on the younger wrestler.

  2. Hey Bruce, I just saw your Intai announcement, and I wanted to express my best wishes for you after Aki. I am a big fan of your coverage, and will very much miss reading your coverage. We met in New York at an event for Sumo Stew in Brooklyn, you may recall me being the large blonde guy who was going to the May basho following that event. I wish you the very best in your future endeavors and best of luck with your child’s health issues.

  3. Hi Bruce! Huge fan of yours in our house, you will be sorely missed!
    That said you gotta do what you gotta do for your family :)


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