I am beginning to suspect that the people on the scheduling team who like to play number jokes and have numerical fun are at it again. Many of the matches today are rematches of prior tournament day 4 fights. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, or maybe they are having a bit of fun to see if anyone notices. In Japan, it’s sometimes known as gorowase, and I swear at least one of the folks drawing up schedules is a numbers fiend.
Big matches to watch for today
- Nishikigi vs Tobizaru has the potential to open a rift in space time due to the tremendous clash in sumo styles
- Kinbozan vs Mitakeumi will narrow the unbeaten field by at least one, and I have a hunch Mitakeumi may prevail
- Asanoyama vs Takakeisho will help scry how ready Asanoyama is to enter the named ranks, and if Takakeisho will be able to clear kadoban.
What We Are Watching Day 4
Atamifuji (3-0) vs Chiyoshoma (1-2) – The lowest ranked member of the undefeated club gets a chance to pick up his first win against Chiyoshoma today. Chiyoshoma won their only prior fight, on day 12 of Kyushu last year, by the quite memorable shitatehineri (twisting underarm throw). I do wonder at times if this maybe started some of Atamifuji’s injury problems, but we will likely never know.
Aoiyama (0-3) vs Daishoho (1-2) – I keep watching the days tick by, and wonder if Big Dan Aoiyama is going to be able to rally back this time and get himself to kachi-koshi, or at least enough wins to where he is not considered a prospect for the Juryo barge. He did that in Nagoya, and so I think maybe he may repeat the process at Aki. He has beaten Daishoho on 2 out of their 3 prior matches, but Daishoho won the most recent one – day 8 of Nagoya.
Kagayaki (1-2) vs Kotoshoho (1-2) – Both men start the day 1-2, meaning that one of them will pull up even with a second win. I think that the 4-1 career advantage favors Kotoshoho heavily, with most of his wins coming by yorikiri. Look for him to land a belt grip early.
Tsurugisho (2-1) vs Nishikifuji (2-1) – A traditional big man / little man match up, with Tsurugisho having at least 50 kg mass advantage over Nishikifuji. That extra mass seems to work against Tsurugisho, as he has lost 4 out of their 6 career matches.
Takarafuji (2-1) vs Myogiryu (1-2) – A long history of 27 career matches between these two veteran rikishi, going back to 2011 (12 years!) when both were in Juryo fighting to make it to the top division. Myogiryu holds the clear advantage of 18-9 on the clay, and I think will likely pick up his second win today.
Sadanoumi (3-0) vs Hokuseiho (1-2) – The next member of the unbeaten club, Sadanoumi, will face the Miyagino giant, Hokuseiho, today. Their only prior match when to Hokuseiho on day 8 of Nagoya by shitatenage. I think that Sadanoumi has the advantage today, as it seems to me that Hokuseiho is now not quite sure how to fight against some of these guys, who are no longer intimidated by his size.
Kinbozan (3-0) vs Mitakeumi (3-0) – These two are both part of the unbeaten club, and one of them will get their first black star at the end of their match today. Kinbozan won their only prior fight, on day 4 of Natsu. With Mitakeumi being so hit-or-miss, it is tough to have an opinion how he will fight on any given day. But I think it would be the height of “Wacky Aki” to see Mitakeumi pick up his 4th emperors cup this month.
Midorifuji (1-2) vs Endo (0-3) – I keep thinking that at some point Endo is going to score his first win. But today may not be that day. He has never won against Midorifuji in 3 attempts, the most recent of which was day 6 of Natsu. It ended in an oshidashi.
Takayasu (2-1) vs Hiradoumi (1-2) – I would like to see Takayasu bounce back from his day 3 loss to Onosho, and put a lot of power into this fight with Hiradoumi. Hiradoumi has been fighting better than his 1-2 score would seem to indicate, and I expect this fight is going to feature a lot of big thrusting combos, even thought Hiradoumi would prefer to fight on the belt. They have split their two prior matches.
Kotoeko (1-2) vs Oho (0-3) – Hopefully they can have Endo fight Oho soon, so at least one of these two guys can get their first win of September. In theory, he should have a fair chance to take one from Kotoeko, but his 2-3 career match record is only worth considering if Oho is not a complete shambles, which he is right now.
Gonoyama (2-1) vs Ryuden (1-2) – They have fought twice before, both times in this year, and Gonoyama has won them both. Both times he was able to catch or put Ryuden off balance and slap him down. Hopefully Ryuden will be cautious today, and keep his feet underneath him.
Onosho (3-0) vs Shonannoumi (2-1) – Another of the undefeated crew, Onosho, puts his record to the test. This is his first ever match against Shonannoumi, who may not be prepared for the amount of forward power that Onosho can generate. With luck he will remember to move laterally once Onosho tries to bracket him, and he will keep the match mobile.
Ura (1-2) vs Tamawashi (0-3) – Guys, guys! It’s kind of early to have this depressing a match – save that crap for week 2, ok? We have a winless Tamawashi, who may be on terminal fade, up against Ura who has only had one good tournament in a year. That being said, Ura has only won one time against Tamawashi in six attempts, so this may be the baker’s chance to pick up his first white star of September.
Nishikigi (2-1) vs Tobizaru (2-1) – Oh good, from a really depressing match to one that is on fire and likely to cause panic in the Tokyo stock exchange. Both men have been playing spoiler and disruptor, and neither one of them is ready to face Hokutofuji yet. So lets have them try to disrupt each other! Hyper-mobile Tobizaru vs the champion of the battle hug. Out of the 3 matches they have had this year, Tobizaru has won 2, but Nishikigi won the last one in July.
Kotonowaka (2-1) vs Takanosho (1-2) – With 11 wins in Nagoya, Kotonowaka may be wondering about a path to double digits. It’s certainly not out of the question, but he is not yet fighting as well as he did in Nagoya. Some of this may be challenges around switching into honbasho mode, or it may be that he’s not quite as genki as he was 2 months ago. He holds a 3-2 career lead over Takanosho, who really should be trying to find a few more wins before the end of act 1.
Meisei (1-2) vs Wakamotoharu (1-2) – This should be an easy pick up for Wakamotoharu. If not, we can likely guess that he is nursing a performance limiting injury that may impede him from maintaining his Sekiwake rank. He has a solid 4-0 career advantage over Meisei.
Daieisho (1-2) vs Hokutofuji (3-0) – Well, Daieisho, its your turn to try your sumo against Hokutofuji. I am not sure what has Ole’ Stompy operating at this level of intensity, but I love it. Daieisho has a 10-7 career advantage, but I have to wonder how much it will matter today. Daieisho has won all 3 matches since 2021, including their last match on day 12 of Osaka that ended with a Daieisho tsukidashi.
Shodai (0-3) vs Hoshoryu (1-2) – I hope Hoshoryu can take heart that he’s facing Shodai today. Unless the “good” Shodai teleports in from the mirror universe, Hoshoryu should mop the floor with him. He has won 8 of the 12 prior matches against Shodai, including 4 of the last 5.
Asanoyama (2-1) vs Takakeisho (2-1) – I am delighted they are not waiting to rotate Asanoyama into the Ozeki corps for the “hard” part of his schedule. As many of you may have guessed, it will come down to who sets the style and pace of the match. Asanoyama is going to try to get a hand of Takakeisho’s belt. Should he be successful, it’s going to be his win.
Kirishima (2-1) vs Abi (2-1) – Abi seems to be hitting his stride now, with two consecutive wins against Sekiwake in the past two days. He’s got a nearly even career record against Kirishima at 3-4, and I think if he can get that first double arm blast to land, he’s in business.