Aki Day 8 Preview

Welcome to nakabi, the middle day of a 15 day sumo tournament. From today, it’s time to start tracking the yusho race as an increasingly narrow group of rikishi battle to take home the emperor’s cup. Our previews will feature our break down of the yusho leader board, and who we think has the best chance at all the trophies on day 15.

Aki Leaderboard

The well earned “Wacky Aki” is once again appropriate, as we have a very jumbled up yusho race to begin the middle day. Our leaders have no top division yusho experience, though Takayasu has been close more than once. Both Ozeki are a win behind that pair, with a large crowd at 4 wins and 3 losses to start the day. Before Takayasu fans get too dreamy, please keep in mind our big hairy “Papyasu” is a bigger choke machine than his sempai Kisenosato ever was. I would love for Takayasu to take home the cup, but it seems like a long shot right now.

Leaders: Takayasu, Atamifuji
Chasers: Kirishima, Takakeisho, Wakamotoharu, Gonoyama, Kinbozan, Mitakeumi, Myogiryu, Tsurugisho
Hunt Group: Too many to list

8 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 8

Aoiyama (2-5) vs Atamifuji (6-1) – I don’t think there is going to be too much of a chance that Aoiyama will beat Atamifuji today. Aoiyama still has the bulk to dominate matches at this end of the banzuke, but his body can no longer support any kind of defense, it seems. As soon as an opponent puts pressure against him, he must move back, I think he’s headed for a fairly deep make-koshi unless he can somehow find some sumo.

Myogiryu (5-2) vs Daishoho (2-5) – Still getting my vote for captain of the Juryo barge is Daishoho, who at the rump end of the banzuke just needs 8 losses to be punted back down to the junior division. He has no wins again Myogiryu in 3 attempts, so this is likely to be ugly.

Chiyoshoma (1-6) vs Nishikifuji (4-3) – Juryo barge first officer Chiyoshoma will likely reach make-koshi before captain Daishoho. That’s just what a good executive officer does, makes sure everything is ready for the boss to come aboard. He has a 2-2 record against Nishikifuji, but like a cadre of rikishi this month, seems hurt and unable to fight very well at all. Nishikifuji won their most recent match, day 11 of Osaka.

Takarafuji (4-3) vs Tsurugisho (5-2) – After three likely beat downs to start the day, some interest. Both rikishi are fighting pretty well, with Tsurugisho picking up only his second loss on day 7 against Myogiryu. He has an even 4-4 record against Takarafuji, with Takarafuji winning 2 of the 3 prior matches this year. It will come down to how well Takarafuji can move laterally, I am going to guess. If he can keep evasive, he is a favorite to pick up his 5th win today.

Kagayaki (3-4) vs Sadanoumi (4-3) – 18 prior matches between these two, with Sadanoumi holding an 11-7 lead. They have only had one match per year for the past two years, with both going to Sadanoumi. I would love to see Kagayaki do better, but I am not sure his body is up to it any more.

Kotoshoho (2-5) vs Hokuseiho (3-4) – We saw actual sumo from Hokuseiho on day 7, and it was a most welcome sight indeed. Maybe Miyagino found some way to motivate him? I do hope so, because the Ichinojo technique was not winning him points on the clay or with the fans. Should he decide to be active and aggressive today, he will likely overpower Kotoshoho, who won their only prior match on day 13 of Nagoya.

Takayasu (6-1) vs Mitakeumi (5-2) – For a long time sumo fan, it’s odd to see these two former Ozeki battle this early in they day. They have 30 prior matches with the score being 21-9 in favor of Takayasu. A Takayasu win, and he keeps his share of the leader board. This means that Mitakeumi will be well motivated to bring the hairy beast down.

Endo (4-3) vs Oho (2-5) – Endo won their only prior match, day 2 of Hatsu this year, using a shitatenage. Oho has not done much to justify his M7 rank this September. This is likely a combination of poor body condition, and slight over promotion. You can look at a big strapping lad like Oho, and he looks a picture of health, But we do cannot know what level of pain or mechanical strain his body is under. I do hope he can bounce back in November.

Onosho (4-3) vs Kinbozan (5-2) – First ever match, we get to see if Kinbozan is going to bounce back after fighting and losing to Hakuho’s civil engineer project on day 7. Onosho, who is famous for winning and losing streaks, has now lost 3 in a row, and I would not be surprised if he keeps on losing for a bit longer.

Midorifuji (2-5) vs Ryuden (2-5) – A pair of 2-5 rikishi battle it out to see which one gets that extra shove toward make-koshi and 8 or more losses. Both men’s sumo is technically quite strong, but their bodies are just not ready to do it at a power level needed to dominate top division matches. They have split their 2 prior matches, so this one is quite the toss up.

Gonoyama (5-2) vs Kotoeko (2-5) – If someone is going to surprise Gonoyama, I would think that Kotoeko might be the person to do it. He is compact, fast and given a chance, able to beat you before you know what happened. I would say his speed is about on part with Gonoyama, who took their only prior match on day 5 of Nagoya.

Hiradoumi (2-5) vs Shonannoumi (4-3) – Shonannoumi needs to take advantage of an “easier” portion of his rotation to pick up wins, like today when he takes on the lower ranked Hiradoumi. Hiradoumi only has 2 wins so far, and I would expect he will be in the make-koshi queue soon enough, too. He won their only prior match day 4 of the November tournament of 2020, when both were ranked in Makushita.

Abi (3-4) vs Shodai (3-4) – This is an excellent match making choice. Two chaos generators can spend their match today disrupting each other’s sumo. Abi – we know what he is going to do. But I am quite curious if Shodai is going to save his big moves for the higher ranked opponents, or if he is going to try and practice them on the likes of Abi first. They have 16 prior matches, with Shodai in the majority 9-7.

Asanoyama (3-4) vs Meisei (3-4) – I am readying stories in the Japanese sumo press about how Asanoyama is critical of his own performance. This worries me, as he takes things so very seriously right now. There was a day not so very long ago where he was just having fun with it, and his sumo was so much better. Yeah, you are 3-4 for Aki on the middle day, and you are not even up to the named ranks yet. Just go beat up Meisei and stop worrying about it.

Daieisho (3-4) vs Nishikigi (4-3) – If Daieisho harbors any notion of being a competent rikishi (which he certainly is), he will have that world view tested by Nishikigi today. We can’t tell right now which version will mount the dohyo, but if he gets a hold of Daieisho, it may be over quickly after that. They have split all of their 14 prior matches, 7-7, with Nishikigi winning the most recent one on day 4 of Nagoya.

Kotonowaka (4-3) vs Hokutofuji (4-3) – Hokutofuji has lost 3 of the last 4, and the heady days of him winning against all 3 Ozeki on consecutive days are just a pleasant memory now. He is evenly matched against Kotonowaka at 2-3, and they have matching 4-3 scores to start the day. I have to wonder if ole’ Stompy is injured right now, and thats why his sumo took such a hit.

Tamawashi (0-7) vs Wakamotoharu (5-2) – A loss today, and Tamawashi is make-koshi, without a single win to start the Aki basho. Whatever is limiting his sumo, its bad enough that we have yet to see him really generate much offense, and we have seen that he cannot withstand an attack. Wakamotoharu has a 3-1 career lead anyhow, so this is likely performative at this point.

Kirishima (5-2) vs Takanosho (3-4) – The stats tell a strange tale. Kirishima and Takanosho have 13 career matches, with a stark majority. For the Ozeki? No, Takanosho by 11-2. Granted Kirishima won only his second bout against Takanosho on day 5 in Nagoya (the prior win was day 11 of Nagoya… 2019 when both were in Juryo). I do wonder about seeing a struggling Takanosho taking a fat nakabi kensho stack from Kirishima.

Ura (4-3) vs Hoshoryu (3-4) – Hoshoryu has a mildly losing record as of nakabi. Is it a crisis? The end of his career? No, not a chance. But it’s fun to think that Ura might be able to make things slightly worse today. He and Hoshoryu share a close to even 2-3 career record, with Ura’s most recent win 1 year ago on day 8 of Aki 2022.

Tobizaru (4-3) vs Takakeisho (5-2) – Takakeisho needs 3 wins over the final 7 days to clear kadoban. Should be able to do it as long as he does not pick up a new performance limiting injury. He’s 4-5 vs Tobizaru, who is too mobile for Takakeisho’s tadpole sumo to work very well.

One thought on “Aki Day 8 Preview

  1. My current Juryo barge crew: Daishoho, Chiyoshoma, Kotoshoho, and Aoyiama. I think Tamawashi is high enough that he wouldn’t be straight demoted to Juryo with an 0-15 record (he’d end up somewhere between M11-M13 based on the math), but who knows. I don’t see any of my “crew picks” scrounging up enough wins for a kachi-koshi and all of them are low enough on the banzuke to get punted.

    Asanoyama is complaining about his performance and under pressure, my by estimate, because a) he wants to get back to Ozeki to prove he can still do it (and “clear his name” in a sense) and b) he recognized how much the crowd supports him and he doesn’t want to let them down. That’s a lot to carry mentally and he was a bit squirrely to begin with.

    I will be utterly thrilled if Takayasu wins everything, but I don’t know if I’ll believe it even if he’s holding the Cup at this point.

    I agree that Oho was over-promoted, but he really needs to figure himself out. There’s flashes of brilliance there, but he either doesn’t have all of the pieces to put the puzzle together or something else isn’t clicking. Having an injury, if he does, definitely won’t help either.

    I think Hoshoryu will be fine. He’ll get his 8 and keep on rolling. Getting humbled every once in a while is good for him and his responses to his losses we’re more grumbly and “dangit, I have to fix that” than anything else so for this basho which is an improvement in that department too. He’s definitely shifted from a “Can I?” mentality to “Okay, I’ve done this once. Now, how do I do it again?” line of thinking. I just hope his body holds up better than some of the other recent Ozeki. Calling even Takakeisho “stable” is stretching the definition of that word a bit at this point.


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