Its the final weekend, and we are here for the drama. Stock the fridge, put the phone on silent and get comfortable, it’s a non-stop sumo festival for the fans. There are a lot of rikishi who could potentially face Darwin matches on day 15. A Darwin match is when two 7-7 rikishi face off, the loser goes home with a kachi-koshi, the loser with a make-koshi. Sumo’s final day zero sum contest. How many will exit day 14 with 7-7 records, ready to face the grinder on the final day? I can’t wait to find out.
A win won’t decide it for Takayasu, unless Wakatakakage also loses. I think this will come down to day 15 for all the hardware.
Hunt Group: Mitakeumi, Kotonowaka
2 matches remain
What We Are Watching Day 14
Kagayaki vs Hidenoumi – Hidenoumi visit from Juryo, because Ishiura wants to rack up losses in person. Go figure. A win by Hidenoumi today would give him kachi-koshi and Kagayaki make-koshi at the same time. I do love symmetry.
Ichiyamamoto vs Chiyonokuni – Chiyonokuni is already scored a mummified make-koshi, so a win today would send Ichiyamamoto to 8 losses, and a certain demotion to Juryo. Chiyonokuni, in healthier times, dominates Ichiyamamoto with a resounding 3-0 career record.
Kotokuzan vs Chiyotairyu – Loser of this match is make-koshi, winner gets to have a Darwin match tomorrow. It’s also the first ever meeting between these bulky guys. Chiyotairyu would not henka 2 days in a row, would he?
Myogiryu vs Yutakayama – For the Darwin mavens in the audience, we need Myogiryu to give Yutakayama his second straight loss to send him into the Darwin mill. Myogiryu is already make-koshi, so he is only here to try and wreck Yutakayama’s day. A Yutakayama win is his kachi-koshi.
Shimanoumi vs Nishikigi – Likewise, a Nishikigi win today sends Shimanoumi to Darwin land with a 7-7. Meanwhile Nishikigi is at 8 wins, his first kachi-koshi in the top division since 2018!
Kotoshoho vs Aoiyama – This is a good one, the winner gets kachi-koshi, the loser gets a Darwin match tomorrow. Ah, the fun you can have when you get so many rikishi near the middle of the pack. I personally would rather see Kotoshoho win today, and Big Dan face the Darwin test tomorrow.
Tochinoshin vs Wakamotoharu – Well, with all of that action to get as many people to 7-7 as possible, its nice to have a fight between two already kachi-koshi rikishi. Both exceeded my expectations for this basho, and are worthy of substantial praise. I know Wakamotoharu is happy to go chest to chest, so hopefully he can block Tochinoshin’s left hand.
Chiyoshoma vs Terutsuyoshi – Chiyoshoma, if you have the urge, today is a good day to unleash a henka. Not that it would work on Terutsuyoshi, but a Terutsuyoshi loss today would add his name to the 7-7 roster. Chiyoshoma is already make-koshi.
Kotoeko vs Sadanoumi – The odd ball match of the first half, we have already kachi-koshi Kotoeko against already make-koshi Sadanoumi. I guess they had to have someone fight Kotoeko, and Sadanoumi got the nod. Or maybe its some kind of “exchange” match to see how Kotoeko will do higher up the banzuke in May.
Takarafuji vs Akua – A battle of the make-koshi, I think this is to see how far down the banzuke Akua is going to drop. I will wait for lksumo to diagnose the likely target ranks for folks like Akua, but he will finish no better than 5-10. Hopefully he is ready to stow he gear on the Juryo barge come Sunday evening.
Kiribayama vs Tobizaru – Tobizaru can hit his 8 today, all he has to do is beat Kiribayama, who has won 4 of his last 5 matches. Easy stuff. Oh, and if he loses, Tobizaru joins the Darwin group.
Chiyomaru vs Meisei – Meisei, at 1-12, is tied for the ass end of the scoreboard with Ishiura. But he’s going to show up day 14, and he needs to fight someone. So why not Chiyomaru, who by all accounts has a fine sense of humor. Chiyomaru has never beaten Meisei, but maybe today is his lucky day.
Onosho vs Tamawashi – If Tamawashi beats the already make-koshi Onosho today, he can finish day 14 at 7-7, and earn yet another spot in the Darwin group. He has not been 7-7 on the final day since 2019, where he was in Darwin matches for both Aki and Kyushu.
Daieisho vs Ichinojo – The best Daieisho can do is to win against a rather genki and completely enormous Ichinojo today, which would earn the Hatsu 2021 yusho winner a spot in the Darwin group. A loss would give him a make-koshi for Osaka. Ichinojo has a career record of 7-4 against Daieisho.
Ishiura vs Ura – If you have a busted up Ishiura, why not have him fight a malfunctioning Ura? Its Ura vs Ura in this battle of the deeply make-koshi. Ura a 3-10, Ishiura at 1-12. I suggest they go drinking instead.
Takanosho vs Okinoumi – Both are 4-9, both are make-koshi, and I am sure both just want this thing to end so they can go back to Tokyo and start fixing whatever is causing them this much trouble. At least we know one of them will get their 5th win today.
Endo vs Hoshoryu – An Endo win is kachi-koshi for him, while dealing out make-koshi to Hoshoryu. Of course, should Hoshoryu win, it’s Darwin for them both. I know which outcome I want!
Hokutofuji vs Abi – Winner gets kachi-koshi, the loser joins what could be an enormous list of Darwin candidates. Although Abi has a 6-4 career advantage, I really want to see Hokutofuji put Abi on the clay today.
Again today, we get a “Big 3” finish
Shodai vs Takayasu – We all way Shodai to clear kadoban, but to do so today means he has to take out the leader in the yusho race, Takayasu. Now he has a career record of 15-9 of the hairy fellow, so its actually not that far fetched. The question being one of what kind of condition will Shodai be Saturday afternoon? Of course, he Shodai loses, he’s at the magical 7-7 score, and what could be more miserable than a kadoban Ozeki facing a Darwin match. Reminds me of Kotoshogiku.
Kotonowaka vs Mitakeumi – The two men who are 2 wins behind Takayasu. Should Shodai prevail, there is an outside chance one of them could still vie for the cup on day 15. So this has a lot of gravity behind it. Mitakeumi took their only prior match in September of last year, but both rikishi have made significant improvements since then.
Wakatakakage vs Takakeisho – Wakatakakage needs to win this one to remain competitive for the cup. He is now one win behind Takayasu, and cannot afford to drop this match today. He has a 1-5 career deficit against Takakeisho, but it seems that Takakeisho is not quite dialed into his sumo right now.