San’yaku Torikumi Forecast


Since the schedulers only give us the Torikumi one day in advance, it’s fun to speculate about the days ahead. Below is a guess for the bouts for the remaining San’yaku rikishi for days 12-15. Others who know more about scheduling than I do should chime in.

  Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 15
Hakuho Tamawashi Goeido Takayasu Harumafuji
Harumafuji Mitakeumi Takayasu Goeido Hakuho
Goeido Tochiozan Hakuho Harumafuji Takayasu
Takayasu Kagayaki Harumafuji Hakuho Goeido
Tamawashi Hakuho Hokutofuji Ura Kagayaki
Mitakeumi Harumafuji Tochinoshin Ikioi Chiyoshoma
Yoshikaze Tochinoshin Ikio Kagayaki Ura
Kotoshogiku Shodai Ura Tochinoshin Hokutofuji

The Yokozuna schedule should be very straightforward. The only question is the order in which they face the Ozeki, and given the cache of the HakuhoTakayasu bout, I’m guessing they’ll hold it till day 14, even though Goeido is ranked higher than Takayasu on the Banzuke.

This also sets the Ozeki schedule except for day 12. They will already have fought the rest of the San’yaku and the upper maegashira after day 11, and Kagayaki and Tochiozan are next in line. Given his stronger record, I have Takayasu facing the higher-ranked of the two.

The two sekiwake have their remaining Yokozuna bouts on day 12, and then face the upper maegashira they haven’t fought yet. The two komusubi are done with their San’yaku schedule, and will face maegashira from here on out.

Beyond the high-rank bouts with obvious yusho implications, I’m looking forward to Ura facing Kotoshogiku, Tamawashi, and Yoshikaze, as I’m sure is everyone else. Goeido is fighting to avoid kadoban status. All four sekiwake/komusubi slots are mathematically up for grabs (although Mitakeumi needs only one more win), with multiple candidates to move up to the San’yaku should slots open up, so the remaining Tochinoshin and Hokutofuji bouts also have a lot of meaning and should be fun to watch.

It’s looking like a great final act to Nagoya!

Nagoya Basho Genki Report


Yokozuna-crew

Ready Or Not, Here It Comes!

The start of the Nagoya basho is just over 8 hours from this post, and it’s time to take a look at the top rikishi and discuss what kind of condition they are in for the tournament. The Nagoya basho is kind of a special animal. In July, Japan is hot and humid, and rather uncomfortable in general. The Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium has some air conditioning, but in general the interior of the venue is overly warm and moist for the duration of the basho. This makes the surface of the dohyo somewhat slick, and in the past there have been more than a handful of falls in injuries from rikishi losing traction. (Such as Hakuho’s broken foot last year)

Given the thermal challenges, the injuries and the general chaos of a basho away from the home stable, what can we expect?

Rikishi: Hakuho
Genki: ✭✭✭✭✭
Notes: The boss is primed and ready for Nagoya. He has a good chance of securing his name against the all time win record, and is an early favorite to be a yusho contender during week 2. He seems to be past his injuries from last year, and is frankly having fun again.
Forecast: Yusho contender

Rikishi: Harumafuji
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: Harumafuji took the yusho last year, and he could well do so again. His lingering lower body issues are compounded by an elbow injury that seems to be permanent now. If he can get power to ground, he is the man to stop Hakuho.
Forecast: Yusho contender

Rikishi: Kisenosato
Genki: ✭✭
Notes: Westerners may not understand why Kisenosato will show up and compete. Not only did he never get surgical attention to his ruptured pectoral, there are indications he re-injured it recently in a test match with Yoshikaze. To Kisenosato, he must soldier on and endure his difficulties and compete because he is Yokozuna. With knowledgable sources keeping quiet on his health, it’s a sure sign that he is in less than adequate condition to compete.
Forecast: Kyujo week 2

Rikishi: Kakuryu
Genki: ✭✭✭?
Notes: Kakuryu brings an unusual strategy to the dohyo, I call him the “Reactive Yokozuna”. He competes by letting his opponent over-commit to a battle plan and then exploiting every mistake. When he is healthy it is amazing to watch, as his opponents do most of the work for him. But Kakuryu suffers from nagging back and knee problems, and they have robbed us fans of his fantastic sumo for too many tournaments. Will he be able to go all 15 days this time? I think not.
Forecast: Kyujo week 2

Rikishi: Terunofuji
Genki: ✭✭✭
Notes: The Kaiju is an epic rikishi, who is limited by problems with his undercarriage. During pre-basho training, he was clearly having knee problems once more, and it throws huge doubt on his ability to be a serious contender. To be clear, if Terunofuji is healthy, he is a yusho candidate. But we worry he will limp his way through Nagoya.
Forecast: Double digit wins

Rikishi: Goeido
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: Indications coming out of Natsu were that Goeido’s surgical ankle rebuild may have been successful. So his healthy is good. Where Goeido falls apart is in his mind. He seems to have two modes: Goeido 1.0 who is satisfied to looks sloppy and out of control, this version is kadoban ready. Goeido 2.0 is this unstoppable sumo machine (from Aki 2016) that commits 100% to his attack and overwhelms his opponents. We hope 2.0 can mount the dohyo at Nagoya.
Forecast: Kadoban

Rikishi: Takayasu
Genki: ✭✭✭✭✭
Notes: Big, strong, healthy and during the lead up to Nagoya, giving Kisenosato a run for his money in daily training. With him now in the Ozeki rotation, his tough bouts will be in week 2, and that may be a problem for the shin-ozeki. He also tends to drop bouts after he suffers a set back, as a defeat throws him off his confidence. Our hope for Takayasu is to get his kachi-koshi, and finish Nagoya in one piece.
Forecast: Kachi-koshi

Rikishi: Tamawashi
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: He has been comfortable at Sekiwake for several tournaments now. Is it time for him to rally and push for double digit wins? He has to power, some times he has the speed. He has been training hard in the run up to Nagoya, and I think he is going to try some new stuff this basho.
Forecast: Double digit wins

Rikishi: Mitakeumi
Genki: ✭✭✭✭✭
Notes: Mitakeumi has put forth a huge effort, bashing down the door to Sekiwaki and finally claiming a spot to begin to consider the evolution to Ozeki. He is happy, healthy, powerful and clever. This could in fact be a break-out basho for Mitakeumi, but only if he can improve his record against the Yokozuna and Ozeki corps.
Forecast: Double digit wins

Rikishi: Yoshikaze
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: The Berserker is a rikishi that no one in San’yaku can expect to defeat. On any given day, he can unleash rapid fire attacks that leave his opponent defensive and ripe for defeat. To be certain his body has taken a pounding over the last few years, but he shows up and competes. He is looking healthy, strong and ready for battle.
Forecast: Kachi-koshi

Rikishi: Kotoshogiku
Genki: ✭✭
Notes: Ojisan Kotoshogiku’s heart is still willing, but it’s clear his body can no longer support his sumo. it’s really sad to watch him decay in place, but it’s more or less his choice to do so. From ichimon practice sessions leading up to Nagoya, it’s clear that he is feeling the damage to his knees and hips.
Forecast: Maki-koshi

Rikishi: Shodai
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: Young, powerful, strong and out of the firestorm of San’yaku – Shodai is poised to have a fairly good basho. Right now Maegashira 1 is a great rank for him, as he needs to refine his sumo. Especially his tachiai.
Forecast: Kachi-koshi

Rikishi: Takakeisho
Genki: ✭✭✭✭✭
Notes: As we covered at length earlier, this young rikishi is probably promoted into a brutal level for Nagoya. But it’s clear the NSK thinks it’s possible he may one day be a big deal, and it’s time for him to get exposure to the joi, and all of the challenges of facing the top men of sumo bring. He is excited, healthy and ready to go. My hope is that he does not incur any injuries.
Forecast: Maki-koshi with some great bouts, possibly a kinboshi.

Rikishi: Tochinoshin
Genki: ✭✭✭
Notes: The Georgian is hugely strong and powerful, but the mummy like wrap on his leg tells the story of why his fans worry each time he mounts the dohyo. Like many other rikishi mentioned in this report, leg injuries hamper his otherwise bright prospects. His final two matches in May (both henkas) indicate his leg troubles are a constant danger.
Forecast: Kachi-koshi

Rikishi: Hokutofuji
Genki: ✭✭✭✭✭
Notes: Hokutofuji is an excellent rank to make a play for a Komusubi promotion for Aki. If such a promotion would benefit him yet is another matter. Like many rikishi who have risen rapidly through the ranks, he will find himself challenged to adapt to the upper levels of sumo. He certainly has the strength and stamina to be a big deal, and he is worth following.
Forecast: Kachi-koshi, possibly a kinboshi vs Kisenosato.

Rikishi: Ikioi
Genki: ✭✭✭✭✭
Notes: Ikioi is looking better pre-basho than he has for almost a year. This could in fact be a big tournament for him, and he is ranked low enough that he is not under constant San’yaku bombardment. With the bonus of having plenty of new rikishi to encounter, he has a real chance at a strong kachi-koshi this time.
Forecast: Strong kachi-koshi

Rikishi: Endo
Genki: ✭✭✭
Notes: There has been little news on Endo going into Nagoya. We will assume that he will continue to struggle to be consistent.
Forecast: Kachi-koshi

Rikishi: Ura
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: Ura is probably headed for a maki-koshi in glorious style in Nagoya. Fast and unpredictable, his usual go-to move, to bend at the waist and be super-low, is a fast ticket to hatakikomi at this rank. So he will have to improvise. Frankly, we can’t wait.
Forecast: Maki-koshi with some great bouts, possibly a kinboshi.

Rikishi: Kagayaki
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: Kagayaki quietly goes about his sumo. He’s more of a technician that someone like Ura, but he has real potential. He has been training hard to recuse himself well for his highest ever ranking, and we expect him to have some good matches this basho.
Forecast: Kachi-koshi

The crystal ball was pretty clear for Nagoya


I learned some banzuke projection lessons from Natsu, and stuck closer to my quantitative system, with fewer subjective adjustments. This worked much better, as detailed below. I also think that Nagoya was easier to predict, largely due to many fewer rikishi with 8-7 or 7-8 records.

The San’yaku went exactly to form. The only real question was whether Kotoshogiku would hold on to the second Komusubi slot, and he did. The meat grinder also went almost exactly as predicted, with only Endo and Ura switching positions. Ura had a better computed rank, and I thought Endo would drop further after his 6-9 record, but given his popularity and how well he did against the San’yaku, relatively speaking, this isn’t a huge surprise. Ura might have a slightly easier schedule at M4e than at M3w, which he can use in his first tournament this high up the banzuke, although he’ll still get at least a taste of San’yaku opponents.

The lower maegashira ranks are always harder to predict, but even here, all the projection misses were by one rank, and involved switches of rikishi who had identical computed ranks. It’s hard to see a consistent pattern in NSK’s choices of Takanoiwa above Aoiyama, Okinoumi above Chiyotairyu, Takekaze above Takarafuji, or Kotoyuki above Chiyomaru. In the coin flip M16 slot, Gagamaru got the nod over Kaisei.

Overall, my projection resulted in 28 “bullseyes” (correct rank and side), 3 additional correct ranks on the wrong side, and 11 misses, all of them by one rank. Among the maegashira projections, there were 17 bullseyes, 3 hits, and 11 misses. I’m gaining some confidence that the projections can give us a good early idea of what the official banzuke ends up looking like.

Nagoya banzuke crystal ball part 1


Following mixed success in predicting the Natsu banzuke, I’m going to take a shot at Nagoya.

Upper San’yaku

Y1 Hakuho Harumafuji
Y2 Kisenosato Kakuryu
O1 Terunofuji Goeido
O2 Takayasu  

The ranks here are determined by performance at Natsu, with the exception of Shin-Ozeki Takayasu, who will need to work his way up from O2e. Although we no longer have three sekiwake, Andy’s OCD will have to cope with three Ozeki instead.


Lower San’yaku

S Tamawashi Mitakeumi
K Yoshikaze Kotoshogiku

I would not be shocked to see Shodai at K1w in place of Kotoshogiku–will the NSK favor the popular up-and-comer or the grizzled vet?


The Meat Grinder

I’m going to include the M1-M4 ranks here. Along with the San’yaku, this group makes up the “joi” or upper ranks, and regularly faces San’yaku competition. When none of the rikishi in the San’yaku ranks are kyujo, there are currently 11 of them, so they need  to face 5 wrestlers outside the San’yaku to make up their 15 bouts. This takes us down to M3e. But as commenter Asashosakari noted, M3w has to face at least Harumafuji, Terunofuji, Kisenosato and Takayasu, who can’t face a wrester from the same heya. At Natsu, the numbers of San’yaku opponents for the M1-M4 ranks was 11, 11, 8, 9, 9, 5, 6, 2. So there was the expected drop-off at M3w (Aoiyama), but he and Tochiozan (M4e) still faced quite a few San’yaku opponents as a result of the combination of same-heya wrestlers and withdrawals of Kakuryu and Kisenosato. Shodai faced 3 San’yaku opponents (and defeated two of them!), and no one else ranked at M4w or lower faced more than 2.

Why “the meat grinder”? Well, as a group, these rikishi went a horrific 8-51 against their San’yaku opponents, a 0.136 winning percentage. The only one with more than one win was Endo, who sort of held his own at 4-7. Excluding his performance, the rest of this group went an abysmal 4-44 (0.083 winning percentage). Not surprisingly, the M1-M3 ranks will turn over completely, as they did after Haru, and most of this group will fall far down the banzuke, although Endo should hang on at M4.

M1 Shodai Takakeisho
M2 Tochinoshin Hokutofuji
M3 Ikioi Ura
M4 Endo Kagayaki

Shodai will probably just miss out on a komusubi slot; one more victory would have sealed the deal. He and Ikioi and Endo are no strangers to this level of competition. Neither is Tochinoshin, who is dangerous if healthy. It’ll be interesting to see how Takakeisho and Hokutofuji acquit themselves at this level. I’m afraid Nagoya will be a “learning experience” for Ura, just like Natsu was for Daieisho. Kagayaki is just here to balance the columns and not needlessly trigger Andy’s OCD.

Part 2 will cover the lower maegashira ranks.

Looking toward Nagoya


What a great tournament we just had! To me, what stood out is the large number of outstanding performances throughout the banzuke, from Hakuho‘s zensho yusho all the way down to Onosho‘s 10-5 record in his Makuuchi debut. Terunofuji got his Jun-yusho, and would have been in contention on the final day if not for his early hiccups on days 1 and 2. Takayasu handled the pressure and will be ozeki in Nagoya. Tamawashi may have started his own ozeki run, and has been fighting at that level. Mitakeumi and Yoshikaze held their own in San’yaku, and Shodai, Takakeisho, Tochinoshin, Hokutofuji, Ikioi, and Ura all put up great numbers in the maegashira ranks.

We don’t get the official Nagoya banzuke until June 26, but here are some early thoughts on the top and bottom of the banzuke.

The yokozuna ranks should get reshuffled as follows:

Y1 Hakuho Harumafuji
Y2 Kisenosato Kakuryu

We will have 3 ozeki: Terunofuji, Goeido, and Takayasu.

Tamawashi will keep his sekiwake rank, and Mitakeumi should join him.

Yoshikaze will keep his komusubi rank, and I think Kotoshogiku did just enough to only drop down to the other komusubi slot.

We should have a strong new crop of upper maegashira, who may even fare better than their predecessors at these ranks:

M1 Shodai Takakeisho
M2 Tochinoshin Hokutofuji
M3 Ikioi Ura

At the other end of the banzuke, Yutakayama, Myogiryu, and Toyohibiki will find themselves in Juryo, replaced in Makuuchi by Sadanoumi, Chiyomaru, and Nishigiki. I think Kaisei will just barely hang on to the top division at M16. They could swap him with Gagamaru, but what would be the point?

Full banzuke prediction to come once I’ve had some time to digest Natsu.

Natsu Day 14 Highlights


Goeido

This Basho Keeps Giving

I have recalled many tournaments where things fade a bit on the last few days, the yusho is kind of a foregone conclusion, or there are no really competitive things going on except maybe a few top matches. Given the number of sekitori that have withdrawn, this seemed quite possible this basho, but it has kept fans engaged right up until the end. This is a fine example of the schedulers spinning gold out of straw, and I complement them without reservation.

We were following the Komusubi, and both of them locked up kachi-koshi today, which is a fantastic and interesting development. There is one Sekiwake slot open for July, and it’s going to come down to the final day and total win count to see who gets it. Either of them would be a great choice, but in spite of being a huge Yoshikaze fan, I think Mitakeumi is the better fit.

Although no one in the Japanese sumo press discussing this much, it’s clear that Harumafuji’s performance took a step down after his bouts earlier this week. He had very little power to ground with Goeido today, who (thankfully) had the mojo to exploit the weakness and drive to a win. There had been some cat calls over Goiedo’s easy path to lift kadoban, but with a win over a Yokozuna, he’s got nothing to hide from now.

Juryo keeps refusing to behave. We now have two rikishi at 9-5, and 12 (!) at 8-6. Furthermore, the two leaders right now are none other than long suffering sekitori Nishikigi, who would be welcome back in Makuuchi, and the relic Aminishiki, who is now 38 years old! Never give up, never surrender!

Highlight Matches

Chiyotairyu defeats Gagamaru – Chiyotairyu picks up his kachi-koshi, and holds onto Makuuchi in a match against Planet Gagamaru. Gagamaru is a real mixed bag, like Ichinojo, he probably relies too much on a lot of mass as a defensive system. There is a lot to be said for bulk in sumo, but there are a host of sumotori who lose mobility and attack power as their weight climbs. I would count Gagamaru among them. I bet he would improve greatly if he shed 10-15 kg before July.

Onosho defeats Arawashi – Arawashi is now make-koshi, and Onosho keeps rolling on. It’s really kind of impressive the sumo he has been able to put together on his Makuuchi debut, and I hope it’s a sign of good battles to come. Arawashi was late in setting up his throw, and was out before he could swing Onosho down.

Shohozan defeats Kaisei – Kaisei’s demotion to Juryo or persistence in Makuuchi comes down to the final day, he is now at 7=7 after his loss to Shohozan.

Takakeisho defeats Ura – Ura has still never beaten Takakeisho in a match. Today Ura looked out of control, vague and confused. Takakeisho had Ura under control and off the dohyo in a hurry, and it was really impressive.

Hokutofuji defeats Endo – Ok… Endo beats two Ozeki and a Yokozuna this basho. He even put Yoshikaze away on day 11. Yet he is deeply make-koshi, and lost to a Maegashira 7 today. Granted, Hokutofuji is a powerful up-and-comer, but Endo either has some mechanical injury, or needs to get his mind in his sumo. We hope the stretch between now and July can help him get things together.

Yoshikaze defeats Tochiozan – Solid match from both, but it was all Yoshikaze today. He gets his kachi-koshi and will stay in San’yaku for July. I also get the impression that Yoshikaze is really have fun with his sumo this basho. He has not looked this dialed in since last summer.

Tochinoshin defeats Tamawashi – HENKA! The NHK commentator, Hiro Morita, was really upset by this. But let’s get real here, Tochinoshin was squirrels before the tachiai, he practically telegraphed this to Tamawashi. Tamawashi, keep your head up and eyes on your opponents center of mass during the tachiai. Everyone who plays a football lineman in the US understands this. It’s not that tough.

Kotoshogiku defeats Daieisho – Ojisan seems really sullen and resigned now, and it’s a bit depressing. I am sure he is trying to figure out if he stays in as he floats down the banzuke, or if he takes his kabu and transitions into a behind the scenes role. He is now and can always be a big deal in sumo, but he continues to diminish.

Shodai defeats Takayasu – This one was a bit of a surprise, and in my book, it was Takayasu who made a few mistakes and Shodai who had the sumo sense to make him pay. It’s possible he was out celebrating with his mother and father (and friends) last night, and may have been a bit ragged during the match. Shodai kept moving forward, no matter what, thus he won.

Goeido defeats Harumafuji – Harumafuji is back to suffering from his lower body problems. It robs him of mobility and a strong stable platform to bend opponents into odd shapes and hurl them into the sun. He will close out the basho with a respectable double digit record, and what could be a really fun match with Hakuho. Much respect to Harumafuji indeed!

Natsu Day 14 Preview


Hakuho-dohyo-iri-13

One Last Chance To Stop Hakuho

The Dai-Yokozuna is running away with Natsu, and I am delighted. I had feared that we were in the slow fade of the Hakuho era, and that we might never see him genki again. His day 14 match is against our favorite kaiju, none other than Terunofuji. Now Terunofuji is clearly banged up, and his problematic knee or knees are once again bothering him. But I am quite sure he wants to deliver some solid sumo on Saturday. If Hakuho wins, he wins the tournament. If he loses, there is one glimmer of hope for Harumafuji in the final match of the final day.

As it’s now Saturday morning in Japan, I expect to start seeing reports on Takaysu hit the sumo / sports press in Japan. We won’t know about his Ozeki promotion for a bit, but I am sure they are speculating like mad about it. I was a bit bemused to see that his parents had to sit in the Kokugikan rafters today. Did no one affiliated with Tagonoura beya not have a pair of tickets they could give up for Big T’s folks? Did I mention he gets to play with Shodai on day 14? Maegashira 5w is a lot tougher than it normally is this time.

The basho has not lost it’s interest, as there is still the Juryo jumble, and a number of solid rikishi (including both Komusubi) fighting it out for a kachi-koshi. This makes me think about Yoshikaze. I am sure it would be a fun bragging point to make it back to Sekiwake at 35, but at this point he’s got to be wondering about the wear and tear on his berserker frame.

Natsu Leader board

LeaderHakuho
Chasers – Harumafuji, Terunofuji, Takayasu

2 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 14

Ichinojo vs Daishomaru – Ichinojo can get his kachi-koshi today, believe it or not. He has not been really bold this basho, and one has to wonder if he is once again suffering his chronic back problems that have sapped his performance. The good news – there is no Jungyo tour after Natsu. So everyone has a chance to rest, get medical attention or go see mom and dad. Maybe Ichinojo can get his back fixed and return to being Kaiju-Jr.

Tokushoryu vs Kagayaki – Tokushoryu also pressing to close out his kachi-koshi, while Kagayaki wants to run up the score. While Kagayaki has shown some great sumo this past two weeks, he got rolled like crepe on day 13.

Shohozan vs Kaisei – Dangling by his fingertips at the sharp and rocky edge of Makuuchi, Kaisei has a shot today to cement himself as a July Maegashira rank by beating Shohozan. This won’t be too easy, as Shohozan probably bench presses more the Keisei weighs.

Ura vs Takakeisho – After a pride obliterating slap down from Ikioi on day 13, Ura tries to recover and bid for a special prize against Takakeisho. A win for Takakeisho would take him to double digits, and give him a healthy shove up the banzuke. Did I mention the dread I am feeling when I think about trying to put this chaos into my spreadsheet? I will beg our readers to only laugh a little.

Hokutofuji vs Endo – Well, Endo has a make-koshi now, and Hokotofuji will be eager to see if his improved sumo is enough to defeat a Maegashira 1. Depending on the final win tally on Sunday, we may see Hokotofuji in the dreaded upper 4 Maegashira slots for Nagoya. Personally, I am eager to see how he does against the San’yaku. Endo on the other hand will need to regroup and fight his way back up the banzuke.

Mitakeumi vs Ikioi – Will Ikioi shut down Mitakeumi’s bid for a winning record? Ikioi looked very solid, very powerful in his day 13 match against Ura, and I am hoping he brings that sumo back out for day 14. Mitakeumi is a great power sumo rikishi, and it would be great to see a strength battle between these two.

Tochiozan vs Yoshikaze – Tochiozan had a great start and then ran into trouble. I do suspect that some injury started closing in, and he reverted to his prior form. Yoshikaze is also trying to clinch his 8th win, and hold onto San’yaku. This will be an exciting match between sumo’s senior class.

Tamawashi vs Tochinoshin – Lumberjack Tochinoshin goes against Tamawashi, who really knew how to get Hakuho enraged on day 13. This time it’s going to be speed vs brute strength. Tochinoshin’s match against Shodai was incredible in the amount of force that was being exchanged back and forth between the two rikishi. Tamawashi will, I predict, stay away from that kind of match, and keep it on his terms.

Shodai vs Takayasu – Shodai gets to train with the pre-Ozeki on day 14. As some have pointed out, this might be win #12 for Takayasu, further putting a punctuation on his Ozeki bid. Then again, Shodai has a chance at bringing Takayasu back to earth for a moment, and should take every advantage of this match.

Terunofuji vs Hakuho – The Boss against Kaiju. I predict this one is over in seconds. Terunofuji is hurt. He knows it, Hakuho knows it, the fans know it. A win here would clinch the yusho for Hakuho, and maybe there is no valor to be won for Terunofuji this time. Not to imply, but he might need a favor later if his knees continue to bother him.

Harumafuji vs Goeido – I would imagine that Harumafuji is rather frustrated after his day 13 loss. I would not be surprised if he give Goeido a right proper launch into the 3rd row, and I just hope that Goeido is not injured. He and Harumafuji have a 40 match history, with Harumafuji winning 30-10. So, it’s going to be ugly. Up side, mighty fine pile of kensho should come out of this match.