The schedulers gambled, and it paid off. Takakeisho was able to win over Kotonowaka, and Daieisho was able to beat Atamifuji. As a bonus, Takayasu also picked up a 9th win, so we now have a chance that we could get a 3 way tie for the yusho going into the final weekend. This should drive a lot of interest, as we may get to the end of regulation with 3 rikishi with winning scores, forcing a playoff. Fun times indeed!
There are 8 rikishi up for kachi-koshi today, including Kirishima, Wakamotoharu, Hokutofuji, Asanoyama, Gonoyama, Midorifuji, Endo, and Myogiryu. None of them face each other, so this could be a big day for handing out winning records.
Atamifuji faces Takakeisho today, and I would guess he’s going to have his hands full with the Ozeki. We also have Takayasu up against Hokutofuji earlier in the fight card. Takayasu needs to win this one to stay in the chase. There are several possible outcomes, but both Atamifuji pulling back to a 2 win lead, and a 3 way lead going into Saturday are on the table.
Chasers: Takakeisho, Takaysu
Hunt Group: Daieisho, Abi, Onosho, Kinbozan, Mitakeumi, Hokuseiho, Tsurugisho
4 Matches Remain
What We Are Watching Day 13
Takarafuji (5-7) vs Chiyoshoma (2-10) – We can bid Chiyoshoma farewell, as he will likely be in Juryo for November, but he can deal a make-koshi to Takarafuji if he can win his match today. He holds a narrow 10-8 career margin against Takarafuji, with Chiyoshoma winning the most recent match on day 13 of Nagoya.
Nishikifuji (4-8) vs Endo (7-5) – A win today for Endo is kachi-koshi for him, he’s beaten Nishikifuji once in three attempts, so let’s hope Endo’s worked out his match plan.
Midorifuji (7-5) vs Kotoshoho (5-7) – If Midorifuji wins today, it will be kachi-koshi for him while relegating Kotoshoho to make-koshi at the same time. Kotoshoho holds a 5-2 career lead over Midorifuji, with both of those wins being the two most recent fights.
Aoiyama (3-9) vs Hiradoumi (4-8) – Both are already make-koshi, but i think that an Aoiyama loss might seal his fate to join the queue to board the Juryo barge of the damned. He has beaten Hiradoumi in three of their 5 prior matches, but Hiradoumi won their most recent fight on day 7 of Natsu, by oshidashi.
Kotoeko (5-7) vs Kagayaki (4-8) – Kagayaki just returned to the top division after spending the July tournament in Juryo, now he looks certain to return for November, and if he loses today to Kotoeko, the likelihood of that just goes up. Should Kagayaki prevail as his 12-9 career record indicates he should, he would render Kotoeko make-koshi for September, though he is at no risk of demotion.
Sadanoumi (5-7) vs Oho (4-8) – Another match where someone who is already make-koshi has a fair shot at dealing an 5-7 rikishi their 8th loss. Sadanoumi was Maegashira 4W in January, and now he is struggling to stay away from make-koshi at Maegashira 12.
Myogiryu (7-5) vs Ryuden (5-7) – I would guess the intent here is for Myogiryu to pick up his 8th win while delivering Ryuden his 8th loss. Sort of a “mini Darwin” match. This looks to me like the scheduling team “clearing the decks” for whatever is planned for Saturday and Sunday. Ryuden leads the series 6-5.
Kinbozan (8-4) vs Shonannoumi (6-6) – Shonannoumi sill has a fair chance at 8, needing to win 2 of his last 3. But he also has a fair shot at a day 15 Darwin match, with his 6-6 score. Kinbozan has beaten him twice out of the 3 career matches, so Shonannoumi will need to remember the sumo that finally got him here, and fight like he did in Nagoya today.
Takanosho (5-7) vs Hokuseiho (8-4) – Takanosho has won both of their prior fights, and if that was not bias enough, the fact that Takanosho needs to win out to get to 8 may be all you need to know about this match.
Daishoho (3-9) vs Tamawashi (1-11) – Ok, throw Tamawashi a biscuit. Of course they may not be as good as the ones he makes himself, but he has a chance to pick up an important second win over struggling Daishoho, who is already Juryo bound.
Mitakeumi (8-4) vs Asanoyama (7-5) – Oh thank you so much for this match. These two used to beat the stuffing out of each other when they were in San’yaku, and I do miss their battles. Both are fighting pretty well right now, but I would give the edge to Mitakeumi. The record is nearly even at 6-5. I still have faith we can see Asanoyama hit 7-7 by the end of day 14, and nominate himself for a Darwin match.
Ura (6-6) vs Meisei (6-6) – This is one ugly match. It’s the kind of a match where you put a bag over your head because you don’t want to see any part of this. This is a match that you might chew your arm off to escape if it fell asleep on you. Both are 6-6, they have an even 3-3 record, and I don’t know who I want to win. I am certain that the highlight reel needs more footage of Ura upside down in the air, so lets see some air!
Hokutofuji (7-5) vs Takayasu (9-3) – These two have 21 prior matches, and they break for Takayasu 13-8. But this is more than just a 2018 nostalgia battle, this fight will decide if Takayasu may have a chance to compete for the up this weekend. The numbers would indicate the Takayasu is likely to win this one, but we know that Hokutofuji has kachi-koshi on the line today, and may enjoy playing spoiler in helping to run yet another Takayasu cup run into the rocks.
Onosho (8-4) vs Tobizaru (5-7) – Tobizaru needs to win today, and all of his last 3 matches, if he wants to stay in san’yaku. I am going to guess he does, and he’s going to be fighting like mad against Onosho today. They share an even 2-2 record on the clay, and their fights come down to who gets the first offensive sumo move in first. Given that Onosho is already kachi-koshi, I would like to see Tobizaru win this one.
Nishikigi (5-7) vs Shodai (5-7) – The loser of this match is make-koshi, the winner gets to trudge on hoping to get to 7-7 at the end of day 14, and be relegated to a Darwin match to try and squeeze out a kachi-koshi. Frankly, I think Nishikigi may want it, but his sumo is so one dimensional that he may be an easy mark for Shodai.
Kotonowaka (6-6) vs Abi (8-4) – Hopefully Abi does not henka today. Kotonowaka needs to win 2 of his last 3 to hold on to his Sekiwake rank, and I think the odds of him pulling that off are fairly good. He has a 4-2 career record against Abi, and if he can avoid Abi’s early volley to knock him down, he should be able to take the win.
Tsurugisho (8-4) vs Wakamotoharu (7-5) – You may ask yourself, why is a Maegashira 16 fighting a Sekiwake? I think it’s time for Wakamotoharu to score his 8th win, and they wanted to give him a big, round, meaty opponent. In fact I have it on good authority that Tsurugisho is 100% meat, and at nearly 200kg, more than can safely fit in most Japanese cars. Tsurugisho has won 5 of their prior 8 fights. Good luck Wakamotoharu!
Daieisho (8-4) vs Gonoyama (7-5) – Another first ever match for Gonoyama as he continues to struggle to find his 8th win. They certainly are giving him the business, putting him up against some of the top men in sumo. Hopefully they can give him Chiyoshoma or something for day 15 if he has not hit is 8 by then. Pretty sure this one is going to be a Daieisho win.
Atamifuji (10-2) vs Takakeisho (9-3) – The big match of the day, can the Grand Tadpole put wonder rikishi Atamifuji on the clay and even up the yusho race? Chances are pretty good that even though Atamifuji trains with the other Isegahama stars, he’s not been on the receiving end of anything like wave-action tsuppari before. His best chance is to shut it down before Takakeisho can start it.
Kirishima (7-5) vs Hoshoryu (6-6) – The first Ozeki fight of Aki almost seems anti-climatic after that yusho battle, but Hoshoryu needs 2 wins to not go kadoban on his first tournament as Ozeki, and Kirishima needs 1 more win to reach kachi-koshi and remove his kadoban. Lots of tension here, I am hoping for a good fight. Hoshoryu holds a 8-5 career lead.