Aki Basho Day 1 Lower Division Intrigue

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Following our earlier, proper preview post, here are a few “ones to watch” from Day 1’s action. If you’re a follower of lower division activity then you may well look forward to some of these…

Jonokuchi

Hattorizakura (Jk34) vs Chiyotsurugi (Jk33) – The main man Hattorizakura gets the basho underway, with a current losing streak of 24 very much under threat from lowest ranked debutant Chiyotsurugi.

Senho (Jk31) vs Urutora (Jk32) – Another Hakuho recruit, Senho starts his career against Hattorizakura’s mildly higher achieving but still tiny 30 year old stablemate, who makes his return to action after a lengthy layoff.

Ayaminato (Jk29) vs Hokutenkai (Jk29) – As referenced in the recent Tachiai Podcast, I’ve been looking forward to Hokutenkai’s debut since seeing him in action earlier this year during a keiko session at Onoe beya. He’s the nephew of former sekitori Takanoiwa.

Nishikio (Jk26) vs Murata (Jk27) – Murata, who had a storming start to his career and made it to the very edge of the line separating heaven and hell at Makushita 1, is slated to return following sporadic appearances during a long injury layoff which slowed his descent down the banzuke. Will he be back or will this be it for the basho?

Jonidan

Motobayashi (Jd16) vs Imafuku (Jd18) and
Marusho (Jd15) vs Tochinoshima (Jd17):

I’ve bracketed these both together as Marusho and Motobayashi (the winner) were two of the three Naruto beya recruits to contest the Jonokuchi playoff in an intra-heya battle last time out. The third, Sakurai, is not in business on Day 1. Both of them get veterans who more or less live at this level.

Sandanme

Wakaichiro (Sd67) vs Fujitaisei (Sd67) – Wakaichiro fans will cheer him on from his highest banzuke appearance to date. Curiously he gets an opponent who was recruited into the original Musashigawa stable before Musashimaru branched off the current version (hat tip to Asashosakari for the catch). American fans will want to note that Wakaichiro’s stablemate Musashikuni is listed as kyujo from the basho, so he’ll be the sole American representative from Musashigawa at least to start the tournament.

Tokisakae (Sd44) vs Oyamatoumi (Sd43) – Jonidan yusho winner Tokisakae makes his Sandanme bow in this match, and the former university man should be expected to plough through the division again this time out before facing tougher scrutiny in November.

Yoshoyama (Sd17) vs Hisanotora (Sd17) – The 21 year old Mongolian Yoshoyama, who entered with some degree of fanfare a couple years back, has made very slow and steady progress, but the wheels came off in his last tournament when he made his Makushita debut. He’ll be looking to right the ship.

Makushita

Ayanoumi (Ms47) vs Chiyonokuni (Ms46) – The feisty man from Mie, Chiyonokuni makes his return to the dohyo, and will attempt to kickstart his career from Makushita 46. Here’s hoping he can follow the path trodden by the likes of Tochinoshin and vault himself back to even higher successes.

Shiraishi (Ms42) vs Okinofuji (Ms42) – Hot prospect and former Sandanme Tsukedashi man Shiraishi will look to follow up last tournament’s 5-2 with a second strong appearance in the third tier. He takes on a long time Makushita veteran, and no prizes for guessing he might be a stablemate of Okinoumi and Hokutofuji at Hakkaku beya.

Wakatakamoto (Ms22) vs Hatooka (Ms22) – It really would be lovely to get all 3 Onami brothers up towards the sekitori ranks, especially with Arashio oyakata set to yield the stable early next year to Sokokurai. 27 year old Wakatakamoto seems to take a step back for every step forward, so a first win here would be good progress.

Chiyoarashi (Ms18) vs Hakuyozan (Ms17) – Hakuyozan had a promising start to his sekitori career before being derailed by injury, and then had a horror show in the last basho upon his return. He needs to stop the rot in this tournament otherwise he may be facing a very difficult journey back.

Naya (Ms10) vs Toyohibiki (Ms10) – Another decent bellwether for the up and coming top talent, Naya faces longtime top division man Toyohibiki as he gets his Aki basho underway.

Midorifuji (Ms4) vs Kototebakari (Ms4) – A classic big vs small match as two very promising, perhaps second tier prospects face off on Day 1, with promotion very much a realistic possibility with a good result in this basho.

Ones To Watch – Nagoya Day 13

Light schedule today, as most of our favorites will compete this weekend to try and sort out their final scores. There are a lot of matches that will decide the promotion picture to come on Saturday, so followers of our “Ones to Watch” will be guessing right up until the end. On to today’s matches!

Naya vs Daiseido – A lot of fans are dissapointed that Naya has 4 losses already, and won’t be in the Makushita joi-jin for Aki. Like so many solid rikishi before him, he will drift back down the banzuke, and work to challenge “the wall” again.

Roga vs Ichiki – 4-2 Roga, in spite of his Oyakata’s public shaming, is kachi-koshi and will get to remain in Makushita for September. This one determines where he places next, and although he has fought well this tournament, I think he will find himself out-gunned if he gets much higher in the ranks.

Amakaze vs Kaiho – 4-2 bracket match, both are kachi-koshi, so this is to dial in how much promotion mojo is added to the September banzuke. Amakaze has looked well for a man who had some critical knee surgery.

Wakaichiro vs Fujihisashi – Darwin match, both come in at 3-3, so the winner gets kachi-koshi, the loser make-koshi and likely returns to Jonidan. Wakaichiro has faced the pressure of this kind of situation in prior basho, so we know he can pull it out. The two are evenly matched size and weight. Go Texas Sumo!

Ones To Watch – Nagoya Day 11

What? Ones to watch? I have slacked off on these posts because Herouth covers the action so very well in her daily video round up. It’s some fantastic stuff. At this point, our lower division competitors have had 5 matches, and more than a few of them have hit their 4 wins and are safely kachi-koshi. A few are event at 5-0, and are competing for their division yusho.

But today there are a few matches I wanted to talk about, so let’s get rolling.

Akua vs Tsurubayashi – Yusho elimination match, can Akua leap-frog quite a few higher ranked rikishi to snatch a return to Juryo? It’s a long shot, but if he is the eventual yusho winner, it’s not out of the question.

Hoshoryu vs Nogami – If Hoshoryu prevails, it would mark his 4th win, and quite possibly his debut in September in Juryo. I am looking forward to lksumo discussing the promotion / demotion prospects later this week. I know there is a lot of hype and a lot of buzz around Hoshoryu, and I worry it would be too soon for him to start battling against the “bigs” in Juryo.

Terunofuji vs Roga – This is it. The BIG it. We had hoped there would be a rematch, and it seems the schedulers are finally going to throw the red meat to the fans. These two last met during the Jonidan yusho playoff in Osaka, with Roga taking the playoff match. Since then they have been on an almost parallel track to their current posting at the bottom of Makushita. Both rikishi are greatly improved since that Jonidan meeting. I know every fan wants to see if Terunofuji’s weight loss and muscle tone changed the calculus between these two, or if Terunofuji’s knees are just too far gone for him to present a young hard-charging rikishi a challenge.

Shoji vs Asanojo – Winner takes home kachi-koshi. For Shoji it’s doubtful he can return to Makushita for September, but the top of Sandanme would be a fine mark to hit.

Wakaichiro vs Kotokume – After a strong start, Wakaichiro had a couple of matches he was winning go south, and then his 5th match was against a rather round fellow, who seemed to be immune to Wakaichiro’s thrusting attack. He comes into his day 11 match 2-3, and needing to win his last 2 for kachi-koshi. He has done this before, and we are sure he can do it now

Ones To Watch – Nagoya Day 7

Time for match #4 for our “Ones to Watch” team. For some of them, they mighty pick up kachi-koshi on Saturday, and there are still a few who remain in the hunt for their division yusho.

Akua vs Kototebakari – A 3-0 bracket match, Akua won their only prior match, which was in May of this year. Kototebakari, at 19 years old, has been moving rapidly up the banzuke, and is likely to be someone who will be a sekitori sooner rather than later. Winner is kachi-koshi.

Midorifuji vs Daishoryu – Another 3-0 bracket match, with kachi-koshi on the line. Daishoryu is a Makushtia mainstay who has been ranked as high as Ms9e, but has never quite seemed to have enough fight to break into the top 5 ranks of Makushtia. A kachi-koshi here would more or less ensure that outcome for September. Midorifuji won their only prior match.

Wakatakamoto vs Hokaho – This 2-1 bracket match features one of Hakuho’s stable mates in Hokaho. He has struggled to consistently rank in the Makushita top 10 ranks. Wakatakamoto won their single prior match.

Shoji vs Fujitaisei – Another 2-1 bracket match (Sandanme this time), Fujitaisei has never been ranked higher than Sandanme.

Wakaichiro vs Narumi – Wakaichiro brought in his second win on day 6, blasting Hamadayama from the dohyo. His opponent for day 7 was on an extended kyujo, and actually dropped off the banzuke and had to re-enter via Maezumo. Now fighting his way back up the banzuke, Narumi will be looking to best our favorite Texan sumotori in this 2-1 bracket match.

Kitanowaka vs Tokisakae – A 3-0 bracket match in Jonidan, Kitanowaka has beaten Tokisakae in Jonikuchi in May. This rematch will see one rikishi with his kachi-koshi.