Kyushu Day 4 Highlights

Wakatakakage defeats Terutsuyoshi. It was a quick oshi-battle with Wakatakakage proving strongest, slapping Terutsuyoshi to the edge and ushering him back, off the dohyo, yorikiri. It was a costly win as Wakatakakage was visibly in pain after the win. He had seemed to twist his right ankle. Wakatakakage is undefeated but now uncertain for tomorrow. Terutsuyoshi is 2-2. The next five bouts are a snooze fest, so I’m not bothered if you skip down to Shohozan/Kotoshogiku.

Daishoho defeats Nishikigi. The two locked in immediately on one another’s belt with a strong tachiai. Daishomaru was stronger with his left-hand grip and was able to work Nishikigi out for the yorikiri win, his first of the tournament. Nishikigi fell to 2-2 while Daishoho got his first win of the tournament.

Daishomaru defeats Chiyomaru. Daishomaru executed a subtle sidestep on the tachiai, catching Chiyomaru off-guard. Daishomaru used the considerable combined momentum to keep the pair moving forward until the bright chartreuse mawashi of Chiyomaru was out for the oshidashi win.

Ishiura defeats Takanosho. Ishiura’s quick slap to Takanosho’s face on the tachiai seemed to disorient Takanosho. Ishiura engaged low and effectively leveraged Takanosho out. Yorikiri.

Chiyotairyu defeats Kagayaki. Chiyotairyu got the best of the tachiai, duplicating Ishiura’s tactic of the slap at the tachiai. It seemed to catch Kagayaki half-asleep because Chiyotairyu was just much more active and forceful, guiding the golden Kagayaki out over the bales, stage left. Yorikiri.

Shodai defeats Shimanoumi. Shodai remains undefeated at 4-0. He was the bigger man and played his game. He absorbed Shimanoumi’s tachiai and used his size advantage and solid yotsu grip to push Shimanoumi out. Yorikiri.

Shohozan defeats Kotoshogiku. Shohozan’s half henka disrupted Kotoshogiku’s usual bumpety, bumpety game plan. Kotoshogiku recovered and locked in for a lean-fest. After a few seconds of leaning, Shohozan struck Kotoshogiku with a swift kick with the right foot and then twisted around and threw Kotoshogiku with a beautiful uwatenage in the first actual makuuchi match of the day.

Sadanoumi defeats Yutakayama. After the excitement of the Shohozan/Kotoshogiku battle, Sadanoumi put me back to sleep with a quick, easy win over Yutakayama. Sadanoumi got the better of the tachiai and walked Yutakayama out. What else? Yorikiri.

Tsurugisho defeats Onosho. In the second makuuchi bout of the day, Onosho started in with some tsuppari but Tsurugisho wasn’t having any of it, reached out for Onosho’s head, and shoved him to the clay. Hatakikomi.

Enho defeats Kotoeko. Kotoeko did not want to let Enho submarine him and get a belt grip, forcing the two into an oshi tsuppari battle. This worked to Enho’s advantage as he was much more aggressive and Kotoeko was just trying to react and deflect. When Enho charged, Kotoeko pulled but Enho maintained his balance, kept the lavender mawashi firmly in front. One final shove from the bales sent Kotoeko into the first row of spectators.

Aoiyama defeats Tamawashi. This was a textbook Aoiyama bout. The tachiai was solid with neither man really gaining an advantage. Aoiyama pushed Tamawahi’s head up and then used his reach to grab Tamawashi’s head and pull him down as he pulled back to the tawara. Hatakikomi.

Kotoyuki defeats Ryuden. This was a textbook Kokoyuki bout. He overpowered Ryuden with fierce tsuppari. Ryuden could not figure out a counter attack and the Penguin cast him from the playing surface, into the crowd. Next time, have a game plan, Ryuden. It’s not like Kotoyuki is a puzzle. Everyone knows what tricks he’s got.

Meisei defeats Abi. Meisei shifted right at the tachiai and I thought this was his undoing because Abi read it well and the tactic brought Meisei close to the tawara. But he stayed low and almost coiled. That seemed to give him enough purchase and leverage to work against Abi who was far too high. Meisei struck out from that coil, again and again at Abi’s high stance, forcing the komusubi off the dohyo.

Asanoyama defeats Myogiryu Solid tachiai and Myogiryu immediately went on the attack but he couldn’t generate any effective momentum against the man mountain. Asanoyama practiced patience and fundamentals while Myogiryu feverishly bounced around like Roger Rabbit. Asanoyama stayed composed with his arms wrapped around Myogiryu

Daieisho defeats Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi laid into Daieisho from the tachiai with some forceful tsuppari. But Daieisho weathered the outer bands of the hurricane and countered by stepping forward into the eye of the storm where the battering stopped and he was able to lock in with both hands on Mitakeumi’s mawashi, turning the tables and forcing him out. The first entertaining yorikiri bout of the day.

Tochinoshin defeats Takarafuji. Both guys are belt guys, so after a solid tachiai, the two settled into a grapple at the center of the dohyo. With the sky crane out of service, the Georgian needs a bigger bag of tricks and he sure found an effective one. He reached up behind Takarafuji’s neck (yes, he has one) and executed a great twisting neck throw. Kubihineri. I’m impressed.

Takakeisho defeats Endo. This matchup is a total contrast of styles; Endo’s a solid belt guy while T-Rex can’t reach belts. On the tachiai, Endo tried to reach in to get a belt grip but Takakeisho forced him away in, I think, the best sign that he does still have power in those thrusts. With the bout being fought on Takakeisho’s terms, Endo was at a disadvantage. As he tried again to lean in and get a belt hold, Takakeisho slapped him down for the hatakikomi win.

Hokutofuji defeats Takayasu. All the drama and pre-match staring lasted longer than the fight! Hokutofuji shifted left after a firm tachiai. The shift was perfectly timed as Takayasu had just started to charge forward again. Finding nothing there he grasped out wildly to try to get a hold of something to arrest his momentum. Hokutofuji used that momentum to thrust the ozeki into the crowd. Oshidashi.

Hakuho defeats Okinoumi. This was like an old Hakuho/Harumafuji matchup: a great belt battle. Okinoumi did more than just try to hang on. Twice he tried to initiate an attack, trying to lift the Yokozuna. Hakuho countered by guiding the action to the edge and then pivoting the pair over the edge, with the Boss landing on top of an exhausted Okinoumi.

So, the yusho race is led by Shodai with Wakatakakage limping into tomorrow. What is this world coming to? Let’s face it, there’s not a yusho race, yet. See where we stand at Day 10 and how many wrestlers have their kachi-koshi in the bag then. There will be no zensho and 12 may be enough to take the Cup. The race is open and Kotoshogiku’s just about the only one out of it.

Kyushu Day 4 Preview

Image from the Japan Sumo Association Twitter Feed

Heading into day 4, it’s clear that once again the lower San’yaku ranks are healthier and fighting harder than the Ozeki and Yokozuna. True, Hakuho is fighting well and looks strong, but the Ozeki corps is in tatters, with the one “good” Ozeki, Goeido, damaged and seeking treatment for his injured ankle.

I compliment Takayasu for his indomitable fighting sprint. Its clear that left arm is not much of a tool, but he’s piecing together wins as he can. I think it will be a struggle for him to make his 8, but I have faith he can get there.

Takakeisho is likewise muddling through, but as his sumo revolves around explosive power from his chest muscles, one of which is damaged, he has a tougher path to 8, and is evident from his day 2 and 3 matches.

*Note, as an Ozekiwake, I count Tochinoshin in the Ozeki corps.

Right now the ones to watch are Mitakeumi, Hokutofuji and Asanoyama. These rikishi seem to be on their sumo, in good health and hungry to win. Endo is fighting well, but coming up 5% short in each match. Tochinoshin is still clearly hurt, and I worry what he’s going to do. Abi is distracted, I think, but he may be able to snap out of it soon.

Fans be aware, this may be a jumble of a basho. But as long as Hakuho is healthy and in it, he’s the clear favorite for the win.

What We Are Watching Day 4

Terutsuyoshi vs Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage is on a hot streak to celebrate his Makuuchi debut. He and Terutsuyoshi a fairly even match, but I am going to go with a momentum call to say that Wakatakakage has an edge for this day 4 match.

Daishoho vs Nishikigi – As noted in the day 3 highlights, there seems to be some kind of performance crisis with the Oitekaze rikishi (Daishoho, Daishomaru) that will hopefully correct soon. If Nishikigi is back to good form, we may see him run up a fairly good score from this far down the banzuke. There is every indication that Daishoho may not give him much trouble today.

Chiyomaru vs Daishomaru – I am going to say Daishomaru in this match, if for no other reason than he is due for his first win. Chiyomaru is a tough rikishi to fight based on his enormity, but Daishomaru has proven to be up to the task in the past (5-2 career).

Ishiura vs Takanosho – Also in the winless column is Ishiura. I am sure The Boss is giving him a measure of grief about this already, but we never know what kind of injuries the rikishi may have sustained in training or during the basho.

Kagayaki vs Chiyotairyu – Kagayaki seems to have shaken off his ring rust on day 3, and I would say that we finally saw good form from Chiyotairyu as well. This match has a good amount of potential, and I expect that Kagayaki’s plan would be to survive the first 10 seconds upright and in-bounds. After his initial surge, Chiyotairyu tends to quickly drop intensity, leaving himself open for counter attack.

Shimanoumi vs Shodai – Oh sure, why not. Let’s see Shodai go 4-0. At this rank he is a bit over-powered if he is healthy, and there is every indication that he is. I would like to see him run the table.

Shohozan vs Kotoshogiku – Two home town favorites go head to head. Shohozan is even more pugilistic and slap-happy than any other recent basho, and I am curious if he is going to take the “Big Guns” approach to Kotoshogiku. We have yet to see Kotoshogiku unleash a proper hug-n-chug attack, so maybe day 4 will be the day.

Yutakayama vs Sadanoumi – This match has a good amount of potential, with Sadanoumi bringing more maneuverability and Yutakayama brining more strength. I would look for an early try for a pull down / slap down from Sadanoumi.

Onosho vs Tsurugisho – If I were Tsurugisho, I would be quite grumpy by now. He had his face bashed by Shohozan, he was matted into submission by Ryduen. Now he gets to take a turn with Onosho, who is (to my eye) struggling at this rank. Can Tsurugisho get back in a groove?

Kotoeko vs Enho – Kotoeko is winless, and he’s going against “week 1” Enho, who tends to be faster, more decisive, and better underneath. In past matches, Kotoeko has been able to use Enho’s low body position to his advantage. I am eager to see the man from Miyazaki get his first win.

Tamawashi vs Aoiyama – Back from a day off due to his fusensho win over the injured Tomokaze, we get to see if Aoiyama can fire up the V-Twin and give Tamawashi a rough ride. Both will be focusing on oshi-zumo, but we will see who sets the tempo and form of the match.

Ryuden vs Kotoyuki – Will it be another Ryuden matta-fest? Kotoyuki seems to have picked up where he left off at Aki, showing up sumo far better than his doldrum days in Juryo, where he struggled with injuries.

Abi vs Meisei – I am going to come out and say it. The social media scandal and ban has Abi distracted. His sumo is off, his concentration is not sharp, and his matches are less intense than they should be. In spite of his day 3 loss, Meisei is fighting very well right now, and will give Abi a tough match.

Myogiryu vs Asanoyama – This should be a fairly workable win for Asanoyama. He has a size and strength advantage over Myogiryu, and his sumo is making steady improvements each tournament. The outstanding question is – did the Hakuho belly flop rattle his nerves? I would hope that it did not.

Mitakeumi vs Daieisho – I see no relief for the Oitekaze heartbreak in this match, as I think that Mitakeumi is in a groove now, and we will see good sumo from him. At least up to day 10, when he traditionally starts to fade.

Takarafuji vs Tochinoshin – Fans are still waiting for Tochinoshin to break out the sky-crane. Will today be the day? He has a tough road ahead of him to get to 10, and this is his “easy” week.

Takakeisho vs Endo – Its fairly evident that Takakeisho is no better than 80% genki right now, and is struggling against opponents he would normally dispatch with two massive shoves. Into this steps Endo, the master technician. I anticipate that Endo will go for the shallow right hand again, and if he lands that it’s going to be quick and ugly.

Hokutofuji vs Takayasu – That Hokutofuji handshake tachiai is going to be aimed for Takayasu’s left arm pit, and if it finds its mark, it could get very ugly fast. With each of the remaining Ozeki in a damaged state, it’s open season for the lower San’yaku to make their marks.

Okinoumi vs Hakuho – These two have a 21 match history, and Okinoumi has only won 1. So I am sure “The Boss” has a catalog of ways to put Okinoumi on the clay.

Kyushu Day 3 Highlights

Witty prose goes here

After two days of the unusual and the unexpected, it was time for the rikishi to nomralize their sumo, with the Shimpan and Gyoji got in on the act. Today was a parade of matta and monoii for the ages. If you like seeing guys in fancy robes telling guys to try again, or giant former rikishi in black mounting to dohyo to discuss where they are going for beer while some poor fellow in a tiny hot screening room checks the replay – well today is your day! But there was some fine and revealing sumo, as the Ozeki corps dug deep to try and rescue their tournaments, and Tomokaze took the Shinkansen back to Tokyo to get his knee worked on. On to the matches!

Highlight Matches

Wakatakakage defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu looked quite wary in today’s match, initiating a couple of false starts in a vain attempt to get any advantage on Wakatakakage, who once again completely dominates Tokushoryu (now 8-1 career).

Terutsuyoshi defeats Daishoho – Terutsuyoshi begins to circle immediately into the tachiai, and gets Daishoho upright and moving back. Great tactics from Terutsuyoshi today, he used his agility for maximum benefit to pick up his second win.

Kagayaki defeats Daishomaru – Kagayaki breaks through his heavy ring rust and gets into basho form. Straight ahead, fundamentals based sumo from him today, and another Oitekaze sekitori goes to 0-3.

Nishikigi defeats Chiyomaru – Nishikigi goes in for a battle-hug against the bulbous Chiyomaru, and finds his target – Chiyomaru’s armpits. A fiendishly clever attack route that does not get enough use against Chiyomaru, who may in fact be a bit ticklish. The reaction from Chiyomaru is akin to “get me out of here”. That effort to escape leaves him defenseless, and Nishikigi invites him to leave the match.

Chiyotairyu defeats Ishiura – Ishiura is really flagging at the start of Kyushu, now 0-3 via a really weak bought with Chiyotairyu. We finally get to see Chiyotairyu execute well, focusing a rippling volley of thrusts to progressively move Ishiura back and out.

Shodai defeats Takanosho – It’s far too early for any leader board calls, but if there was Shodai is… well, 3-0. No surprise really as his rank vs his ability is a good sized mismatch. Shodai owned the early moments of this match, but Takanosho broke contact and rallied before Shodai slapped him to the clay.

Shimanoumi defeats Kotoshogiku – A part of me watches Kotoshogiku struggle daily, and wonders why he’s doing it. I am sure because sumo is his life, and he enjoys it. But he is a shadow of even himself in January. No ability to generate forward pressure, and his balance is starting to weaken. Kotoshogiku starts 0-3.

Shohozan defeats Sadanoumi – I though, “no way we are going to see another brawl on day 3”. No sir, I was wrong. Points to Sadanoumi for working hard to stay out of the slap zone, but Shohozan would not be denied. Oh, and a monoii to review the video for a hair pull after the gyoji pointed to Shohozan, but it was upheld.

Yutakayama defeats Kotoeko – Solid Yutakayama sumo again today, and he exits the dohyo 3-0 to start Kyushu. Forearm action to block any opening gambit from Kotoeko worked a charm, and Yutakayama controlled the match. Keep working, I am looking forward to your future matches against Asanoyama.

Enho defeats Onosho – Several matta here as Onosho was working from the idea that a quick blast into Enho might prevent Enho’s normal dive for the mawashi. I liked seeing the matta, as it gave some insights into Onosho’s tachiai form. Note the “crossed arm” tachiai on the second matta. Make contact, uncross the arms, and it gives you a thrust out for free. Nice. But nevermind all that, Enho goes shallow left hand grip at the tachiai and starts to unbalance Onosho, which seems to be easier than the par 3 at putt-putt mini golf.

Ryuden defeats Tsurugisho – Never let it be said that if there’s a matta streak going on, that Ryuden is not going to jump in with both feet. As expected, it completely disrupts Tsurugisho’s sumo, and when the match finally gets started his attack is vague and disorganized.

Kotoyuki defeats Tamawashi – This new, upgraded Kotoyuki is quite the package. He takes Tamawashi style sumo to the master and wins. I commend Kotoyuki’s relentless focus on thrusting against Tamawashi’s chest, keeping Tamawashi from setting his feet and starting a counter attack. Excellent oshi-sumo today from the Penguin.

Myogiryu defeats Abi – Sure, let’s have another matta. The moment of tachiai is telling, Abi is too far forward and completely off balance. Myogiryu is solid and has his hands lower, but Abi makes first contact. Abi begins his obligatory pushing attack, but with his body out of position he really has only 2 shoves in him before he loses balance and Myogiryu helps him over the bales.

Hokutofuji defeats Takarafuji – Another day of excellent sumo from Hokutofuji. He took away most of Takarafuji’s stalemate options in the first step. The Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai did not go for Takarafuji’s non-existent neck, but rather swung in for an armpit hold that locked Takarafuji in place and lifted him up. At this point Takarafuji has very few options, but tries to respond. Hokutofuji counters by advancing strongly and delivers Takarafuji to the southwest corner of the dohyo. Hokutofuji keeps getting better.

Tochinoshin defeats Endo – Endo’s opening gambit was to dig for a right hand frontal mawashi grip, likely to evolve that into any number of pivoting attacks or a throw. But physics, thou art a capricious bitch, and that iron grip from Endo can be a fulcrum for Tochinoshin as well. Really nice sumo from Tochinoshin, sensing the risk and reversing it back on Endo. It looked messy, but was really quite an interesting match that showed just how good these two are. Tochinoshin, thankfully, picks up his first win.

Mitakeumi defeats Meisei – Back to Newtonian physics, Force = Mass x Acceleration. This match came down to the total bulk that Mitakeumi carries around every day acting as an aggressive, fleshy wall that constrained, contained and expelled Meisei, in spite of some really nice sumo from Meisei. Mitakeumi seems to have broken a blood vessel during the tachiai, and takes home the Yoshikaze ribbon for day 3.

Takayasu defeats Okinoumi – A lot of respect for Takayasu for beating Okinoumi using his right arm. It was clear that Okinoumi was focused on attacking the damaged left arm, and Takayasu used that assumption to gain advantage on the right. It was sloppy, it was disorganized, but he made it work. Oh, and another monoii to discuss if it was beer and Yakitori or whisky and Okonomiyaki after the basho for the Shimpan.

Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – Its clear that Takakeisho is really struggling, and Daieisho kept at an optimum distance where Takakeisho’s thrusting attacks had minimal effect. So the bout raged into maneuver warfare, which is not a Takakeisho strength. With Daieisho charging ahead for the win, Takakeisho tried a last-moment slap down, with the Gyoji bought, giving him the gumbai. But of course, a monoii was called because it seems that the Okonomiyaki place is only open for lunch, and there is a really nice izakaya just a block further away.

Hakuho defeats Asanoyama – Ok, now we know Hakuho’s toes are not a problem. Fast, brutal and effective today. He put Asanoyama on the deck and then added to the win with a celebratory belly-flop.

Kyushu Day 3 Preview

Image Courtesy Japan Sumo Association Twitter Feed

It’s only day 3 of the basho, and already Kyushu is loaded to the fill line with oddity. On day 2, the higher ranked rikishi in nearly every match lost. The only named rank athlete with a perfect record is Asanoyama. We have lost 3 (soon to be 4) rikishi to injury, and we have not gotten out of the first act. Sorry readers, but something is wrong in sumo land, maybe a few somethings.

But do keep in mind, sumo is a often brutal sport. It’s a combat focused zero-sum game, with a winner and loser in each match. The 6 basho + 4 jungyo schedule is merciless, and with the average weight of top division men climbing every higher, the risks for injuries compound.

But in the midst of this carnage, we are starting to see some of the future of sumo, in the fast approaching era when the current Yokozuna are both retired, and the young cohorts finally come into their own. But we have to wonder, how many of them can stay healthy to ascend the ranks when the promotion lanes open?

What We Are Watching Day 3

Wakatakakage vs Tokushoryu – In addition to having a 7-1 career advantage over the veteran, Wakatakakage seems to be on a opening hot streak. Will it be 3-0?

Terutsuyoshi vs Daishoho – His day 2 loss to Chiyomaru not withstanding, I think Terutsuyoshi is on a “recovery” tournament, to bounce back from his disastrous 4-11 score at Aki. I am looking him to make his 8, and maybe a few to spare.

Daishomaru vs Kagayaki – Kagayaki brings a 9-3 career advantage to this match, so I think he may get his second win on day 3. Daishomaru was bamboozled by Wakatakakage and let Nishikigi win in blind man’s bluff, so he has to get his act together or figure out what he is going to wear in Juryo in January.

Chiyomaru vs Nishikigi – Ok, this has my interest. I would think this series should favor Chiyomaru, but in fact Nishikigi tends to dominate these matches. Sure, Nishikigi can land his arm lock hold, but Chiyomaru has that giant belly as some sort of deflector shield.

Ishiura vs Chiyotairyu – Another match with odd history. I would assume that Chiyotairyu would overpower and dominate the smaller Ishiura, but it seems that with a 4-2 lead, it’s Ishiura who tends to give Chiyotairyu the business. That’s good news as Ishiura needs to find some wins starting now.

Takanosho vs Shodai – I know long time readers are going to assume this is a coded cry for rescue, but I think Shodai is going to run up the score this basho. At Maegashira 10, he’s going to out-class most of his opponents if he is healthy and in a good frame of mind.

Kotoshogiku vs Shimanoumi – It will be sad if Shimanoumi dealt local hero Kotoshogiku his 3rd consecutive loss. But lets be honest, as banged up ask Kotoshogiku is, it’s only a matter of when his next notch down the banzuke will happen. I love me some Kotoshogiku, but its kind of sad to watch him struggle.

Shohozan vs Sadanoumi – Shohozan was a brawling demon on day 2, even if he did go down to a loss. Will we see the same head pounding, face bashing sumo today? Sadanoumi has 13 career matches against Shohozan, so I am going to assume he knows how to avoid getting into a street fight.

Yutakayama vs Kotoeko – Oh I think this is going to be a good one. Both are strike-and-move oshi-rikishi, and so this may be a balanced fight. Yutakayama will have superior mass and defense, and Kotoeko may edge out in maneuverability and agility. Readers know I have Yutakayama earmarked to be Asanoyama’s rival, so lets see if he can stay healthy.

Onosho vs Enho – The lowest ranked of our tadpoles draws a match against power-pixie Enho, and this as “melt down” written all over it. Onosho has always had some balance issues, which got worse following knee surgery. If you fight against Enho, you had better watch your balance, as he can and will defy expectations of where and how the attacks will come.

Tsurugisho vs Ryuden – I am serious worried that Tsurugisho may have picked up some kind of concussion in his day 2 match with Shohozan. Maybe he’s kyujo today (1 in 6 chance, I would say). I think if the match goes on, Ryuden will have his hands full. While Ryuden racked up a 5-0 advantage from their time in Juryo, this version of Tsurugisho is bigger, stronger and possibly a bit pissed off.

Tamawashi vs Kotoyuki – We have not seen Kotoyuki crowd surf in a while, and given Tamawashi’s habit of sending opponents on orbital trajectories, we may get our first meet-and-greet for the zabuton crew today.

Aoiyama vs Tomokaze – This had better be a fusensho for Aoiyama. If Tomokaze shows up today, I am going to lose all hope.

Abi vs Myogiryu – Abi’s mental state may be poor right now. His Instagram antics got all rikishi everywhere thrown off of all social media, so I am guessing some of his fellow sumo men are disappointed in him. Even though he won day 2 against several parts of Takayasu, Abi is clearly not yet dialed in.

Hokutofuji vs Takarafuji – Oh good! Strategist and technician Takarafuji against both upper and lower parts of Hokutofuji, in seemingly good working order. I am going to look for Takarafuji to stalemate Hokutofuji as long as possible, looking for a mistake or opening. Hokutofuji is good at over-extending and over-committing, so lets see if “Not Kaio” has improved his discipline.

Endo vs Tochinoshin – A battle of excessive sadness. I now fear that Tochinoshin won’t make his 10, in fact I worry he may not even make 8. Endo will come in with a masterful plan, and I hope to see Tochinoshin pick him up and carry him around for 30 seconds like a box of green glass headed for the curb on Tuesday in Sumida.

Mitakeumi vs Meisei – Common wisdom might assume that the longest serving tadpole, Mitakeumi, would be the favorite, but Meisei is fighting very well this November, and I would not be surprised to see him take a few more scalps in the named ranks.

Okinoumi vs Takayasu – I think everyone knows that Takayasu is unable to generate any forward power on his left. The solution for any competent Makuuchi rikishi is fairly straightforward. I fear that we are going to be treated to a series of increasingly sad and depressing losses by the Ozeki as his injury compounds, and he gets even weaker on his left.

Takakeisho vs Daieisho – Fresh from a Hakuho kinboshi, Daieisho comes to call on a battered Takakeisho, who has yet to convince anyone that he’s got his sumo dialed in, let alone that his left pectoral muscle is fit.

Asanoyama vs Hakuho – Hakuho has stated that he is a fan of Asanoyama – “A new generation guy who can do yotsu-zumo”. So now we get their second meeting, and I suspect that Hakuho has a foot problem either because of that odd day 2 match, or revealed by it. Asanoyama is fighting in great form for the first act, and I think that he’s going to have a strong showing.