Aki Day 9 Preview

With the middle weekend of the basho behind us, it’s time to march ahead to week 2 and the conclusion of Aki. During the second week, experience and stamina play an increasing role in rikishi’s daily performance. It’s where the yusho race will become refined, and we will see who has what it takes to compete for the cup.

Yesterday’s Ozeki blowout means that none of them are in serious contention right now, and may not play much of a role in the yusho race. Let’s see what their situation looks like:

  • O1E Kirishima – Needs 3 more wins over the final 7 days to clear kadoban and retain rank. Short of picking up a new mechanical injury, he should be able to pull this off.
  • O1W Takakeisho – Also needs 3 more wins over the final 7 days, but was in a bit more uncertain condition before the basho. His day 8 loss to Tobizaru saw him ejected off the dohyo to land in the front row. We don’t know if he injured himself, but it’s something to look out for.
  • O2E Hoshoryu – Needs 5 wins out of the final 7 matches to avoid kadoban in his opening tournament. This is a tough situation for him, and I hope it is motivating him to focus more on his sumo technique.

Aki Leaderboard

The leaders both won on day 8, but the chase group suffered some casualties. The hunt group is 10 men wide, and we will wait to list them until things narrow down a bit. I am keeping my eye on Wakamotoharu, who could be in a good position to contend for the cup next weekend.

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

7 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 9

Myogiryu (6-2) vs Kotoshoho (2-6) – Within the next few days, we may get to see lksumo publish some of his promotion/demotion forecasts. I am starting to worry about Kotoshoho, who can’t seem to find a win. He’s not got better odds today, as he has only beaten Myogiryu once in six attempts. That win came on day 9 of Kyushu 2022.

Daishoho (2-6) vs Sadanoumi (4-4) – My favorite for captain of the Juryo barge of the damed faces off against speed rikishi Sadanoumi today. He has a 2-2 record, but given how poorly Daishoho has been fighting this month, I am not sure there is much hope. He likely has some injury that is disrupting his sumo, and will need to try to recover following the basho.

Takarafuji (4-4) vs Aoiyama (2-6) – An impressive 31 career matches between these two, with 22 of them going to Aoiyama. Aoiyama can still execute sumo moves well enough, but he really does not seem to have the ability to deliver power through his arms, or his legs. I think it’s also indicative of Aoiyama’s overall fade that Takarafuji has won both prior matches this year, and six of the last 7 head to head fights.

Chiyoshoma (2-6) vs Hokuseiho (4-4) – I am pretty sure we won’t see another henka today, but who knows. Chiyoshoma is part of an ignoble group of 8 rikishi with only 2 wins who are fairly certain to end up make-koshi. At his spot on the banzuke, he would be considered for demotion back to Juryo. Chiyoshoma won their only prior contest, day 9 of Osaka, by uwatedashinage. That’s a long way to fall.

Mitakeumi (5-3) vs Tsurugisho (6-2) – What I like about this contests is that Mitakeumi certainly has the strength to push Tsurugisho, and has the technique to produce a win. They have two prior matches, the most recent went to Tsurugisho on day 11 of Natsu. The one before that? Day 11 of Natsu, 2015 – when both were in Makushita!

Kagayaki (4-4) vs Endo (5-3) – Kagayaki is big, and his sumo is simple. When he can execute crisply, he tends to win because his fundamentals have been so strong in the past. Endo is a master technician, and tends to to dismantle Kagayaki’s simple sumo. Endo holds an 11-5 career lead, and I think he will likely expand that today.

Kinbozan (5-3) vs Atamifuji (7-1) – Much as I think Kinbozan has a bright future in sumo, right now Atamifuji is on fire, and shares a portion of the yusho race lead. They have never fought before, but I give Atamifuji the edge to pick up his 8th win and kachi-koshi today.

Nishikifuji (4-4) vs Oho (2-6) – Oho is part of that ignoble 2 win group, and I think there is not much that can save him from make-koshi at this point. The good news is that he’s at no risk of being demoted out of the top division, so whatever injury or problem he is having is something he will have time to resolve. He has a nearly even (5-4) record against Nishikifuji, and normally this would be an interesting fight. But an diminished Oho may not have much sumo to employ today,

Takayasu (7-1) vs Kotoeko (2-6) – The second of the co-leaders fights against Kotoeko next. Kotoeko is one of these rikishi that I am usually surprised by their low or poor score. He fights well, and puts a lot of energy into his matches, but he just can’t seem to win on a day to day basis. He hand Takayasu have fought twice before, with each taking 1 win apiece. Should Takayasu win today, he would be kachi-koshi.

Onosho (5-3) vs Hiradoumi (2-6) – Onosho gets the job of handing Hiradoumi his 7th loss, and I predict as long as the junior tadpole can keep his feet and not get too eager to win, he’s got this one locked up. He holds a 3-1 career lead over Hiradoumi, and I see no reason for Hiradoumi to win today.

Midorifuji (3-5) vs Shonannoumi (5-3) – In spite of the score gap, this is (at least to myself) an interesting match. I know that Midorifuji has enough sumo skill to put the much more massive Shonannoumi on the clay if he can get things to align. But right now Shonannoumi is having a better basho, and is not likely to give Midorifuji an opening to use his attacks. Their only prior match, day 2 of Kyushu 2018, was a Shonannoumi win.

Takanosho (4-4) vs Ryuden (2-6) – Takanosho has pulled up even to 4-4 following is somewhat unexplainable pasting of Kirishima on day 8. Can he carry forward his good sumo and beat Ryuden today? Ryuden is part of the group of rikishi with just 2 wins who are likely headed for make-koshi. He suffers from chronic hip and lower back problems, and if I had to guess he is enduring some of that this basho.

Tamawashi (0-8) vs Asanoyama (4-4) – It’s sad to watch Tamawashi struggle this much. He’s never missed a day of sumo, so he’s not going kyujo in the last week. He will instead mount the dohyo and lose matches. I know Asanoyama could use the white star, so I am sure he is thankful for Tamawashi’s “iron man” reputation.

Shodai (3-5) vs Meisei (3-5) – Both rikishi start the day with 3-5 records, and both are having hit or miss (mostly miss) daily battles. I chalk this one up to “Shodai had to fight somebody…” He has a 9-6 career advantage over Meisei, but the last 4 in a row have all gone to Meisei. This could be one to watch.

Abi (4-4) vs Tobizaru (5-3) – Two rikishi who have rapid attack style. Abi with his predictable double arm blast ahead sumo, and Tobizaru with best in class combos and lateral mobility. Abi tends to win these matches by a 6-3 ratio, winning 3 of the last 4 matches in a row.

Nishikigi (4-4) vs Hokutofuji (5-3) – I really, dearly want to see Nishikigi reach 8 wins and secure a kachi-koshi in the san’yaku. But to do that, he must win the majority of the remaining matches. His record against Hokutofuji is hit or miss (5-6), with 2 of the 3 matches this year going to Hokutofuji.

Daieisho (4-4) vs Wakamotoharu (6-2) – As mentioned in the commentary, I am starting to think that Wakamotoharu will contend for the cup in act 3. To get there, he will need to win through the rest of act 2, starting with power attack monster Daieisho. Wakamotoharu holds a narrow 4-3 career record against Daieisho, with both winning 2 so far this year. This will likely be a tough fight.

Gonoyama (6-2) vs Takakeisho (5-3) – Oh, this is a match worth staying up in the middle of the night to see. The Grand Tadpole against Shin-Goeido. Hey, anyone else catch Raja slip up on day 8 and call him Goeido? Apologies to the NHK crew for polluting your thought space, just having a bit of fun drawing parallels between the coach and his star athlete. This is their first ever match, and I am hoping that Takakeisho did not pick up an injury on day 8 flying off the dohyo, and is able to show Gonoyama a proper wave-action welcome to the joi-jin.

Kirishima (5-3) vs Ura (5-3) – Just when you think its safe to go back on the dohyo. Like Tobizaru, you can’t take your eye off of Ura, even for a moment. he will gladly discombobulate your sumo and run your match plan amok. You will find yourself pulled through an unknown dimension on your way to eating a face full of clay. Yes, Kirishima holds a 5-2 career lead, but on any given day, Ura may suspend the laws of physics and give you a lesson in Thurston geometries.

Kotonowaka (4-4) vs Hoshoryu (3-5) – Kotonowaka has a difficult task ahead of him today. He has only won against Hoshoryu 4 times in 14 attempts, but he is one of the 3 people who won against him during his 12-3 yusho run that saw him promoted to Ozeki. I would expect Hoshoryu to bring overwhelming focus and motivation to today’s match, and that may be part of the problem. I am going to guess he is worried, and rather than just relax and act on his best sumo instincts, he may let his thoughts get in the way of his actions. Should be a good fight.

3 thoughts on “Aki Day 9 Preview

  1. Looks like we are having a new champion, this Basho. Wakamotoharu has the upper hand, as he is ranked higher, but he also needs to face higher ranked rikishis.

  2. Never heard of Thurston geometries before, but an image search led to interesting results. Such an educational, as well as entertaining, blog this is!


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