I was satisfied with the action day 1, and if I am being honest, I think the match ups for day 2 are a notch better than we had for shonichi. Today may be contrasts day, as I see more than a couple clashes of sumo styles and approaches on the torikumi. Highlights for me are
- Chiyoshoma vs Abi – forward power vs hit and shift
- Wakamotoharu vs Hokutofuji – patient, stead sumo vs big opening move and rapid dispatch of any opponent
- Ura vs Daieisho – Grab-n-tug sumo vs all power forward mega-thrust attacks
- Wakatakakage vs Kiribayama – rising stars battle for dominance
- Takayasu vs Shodai – wild man sumo vs the wall of daikon
What We Are Watching Day 2
Chiyomaru vs Hiradoumi – Today’s Juryo visitor is none other than his mighty roundness, Chiyomaru. He won his opening day match against Churanoumi. Ranked at Juryo 1 West, a simple kachi-koshi should be enough to return him to the top division in January. Hiradoumi took their only prior match, during Aki. Both start the day 1-0.
Kagayaki vs Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi really needs to rally soon. To me he looks like he is still hurt, and as such will be easy meat for Kagayaki, who holds a 7-3 career record, and has 50 kg in bulk, and 30 cm in height on Terutsuyoshi. Ranked at just Maegashira 16E, a make-koshi would likely send him back to Juryo for Hatsu.
Ichiyamamoto vs Atamifuji – After an opening day loss, Atamifuji will look for his first win in his first ever match against Ichiyamamoto. The challenge being that Ichiyamamoto puts a lot of power into his double arm thrusting attack, and tends to be at maximum range when he starts his run. This robs anyone who needs a hand hold to fight of even the smallest chance to get into the battle. Atamifuji does has a 30 kg size advantage, maybe it will come in handy today.
Azumaryu vs Oho – Both men start the day 0-1, and are looking for their first win. Oho continues to struggle with consistency in his sumo, and so it’s tough to know if he will be dialed into his sumo today or not. They have four prior career matches, that have split evenly 2-2.
Kotoeko vs Chiyotairyu – Its Sadogatake vs Kokonoe on the clay! To me, Chiyotairyu did not look sharp day one. I worry he’s going to continue the poor performance that has been plaguing him since mid 2021. I suspect an injury is to blame. The two are nearly even at 8-7 career wins.
Okinoumi vs Kotoshoho – Also in the ranks of “looking not very genki”, is Okinoumi. Not that I fault him. At 37 years old, he’s close to the point where his body may be telling him it’s time to consider hanging up the mawashi and putting that kabu to use. Kotoshoho had an opening day win, but is still tuning up to full honbasho power.
Aoiyama vs Onosho – Two rikishi with large amounts of forward power going head to head, this could be fast and ugly. It will come down to if Onosho is in a mood to keep his balance under control, and his feet in a workable position. Aoiyama did not show much power on day one, and may still be nursing his injury from this summer.
Chiyoshoma vs Abi – I admit I want to see Abi wreck the lower / middle ranks this November. I think he got the rank he got by missing September, but a brutal hammering will do the most to put him back near the named ranks, where I think he belongs. Today might be a good day for Chiyoshoma to employ liberal amounts of lateral sumo.
Takarafuji vs Takanosho – The news for Takarafuji is not good. After an opening day loss where it looked to me like his feet got out of cadence, he gets to face Takanosho, who he has only beaten twice in 9 attempts. Now in his mid-thirties, I add him into the group of rikishi who are really suffering the effects of accumulated injuries.
Tochinoshin vs Myogiryu – Tochinoshin is also in this age group, but seems to have found a way to maintain some level of sumo power, in spite of a knee that is little more than gristle, curry and scraps of old newspapers. He and Myogiryu had a 32 match career record, with Myogiryu leading 18-14.
Nishikigi vs Endo – Both men start the day 0-1, and Endo could really use a win to keep his score closer to the midline. The good news is that Nishikigi has never beaten Endo (0-7), so this might be a good pickup for Endo.
Ryuden vs Nishikifuji – This has my attention as potentially a big fight to start the second half of action. Both won their opening day fights, and look fairly genki on shonichi. The only prior match was May while both were ranked in Juryo, and it went to Nishikifuji.
Wakamotoharu vs Hokutofuji – I would love to see Wakamotoharu have another match where he is careful, patient and calmly puts together a winning yorikiri. Of course, this is nearly the opposite of the way that Hokutofuji fights. I expect him to come in with a fast combo attack and an early nodowa. If he can get his favorite combo to pay off, Wakamotoharu is going to have his hands full. Hokutofuji leads the series 2-1.
Sadanoumi vs Midorifuji – Sadanoumi surprised Hokutofuji on day one, and I give him even chances of doing it again today against Midorifuji. The trick for Sadanoumi is to get his hands on Midorifuji before the Isegahama man can get his feet set and begin his offense. They have split their 2 prior matches.
Tobizaru vs Meisei – Sumo’s flying monkey moves from winning against Shodai to fighting Meisei. Meisei lost his opening day match, but has a 6-2 career record against Tobizaru. The reason why that may not matter much is that Tobizaru has improved quite a bit over the past few months, and will be tough for Meisei to maintain any kind of hold.
Ura vs Daieisho – Both lost on day 1, but Ura seemed to already be into his sumo in his loss against Kiribayama, while Daieisho looked ill prepared for this fight with Takakeisho. These two are evenly balanced across their careers with Daieisho having a narrow 5-4 lead. Daieisho will look to open up his mega-thrust attack path, and Ura will be looking for an errant body part to grab and tug.
Wakatakakage vs Kiribayama – I am eager to see at what point Wakatakakage breaks out of his “cold start” routine and settles down to some powerful sumo. I note with amusement they have him fighting Kiribayama on day two, and he holds a 7-4 career advantage. A great fight of two of sumo’s rising stars.
Ichinojo vs Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi loves to fight Ichinojo most days. He holds a 15-7 career advantage over the Boulder, and has won 3 of their 4 matches so far this year. Mitakeumi needs the win to continue his drive to return to Ozeki, but Ichinojo looked really sharp in his day 1 win against Tamawashi.
Tamawashi vs Hoshoryu – If I had to guess, Tamawashi may have some frustrations from his day 1 match with Ichinojo to work out. Probably against Hoshoryu’s face, or neck. Hoshoryu is no easy mark right now, and in fact has a narrow 4-3 career lead against Tamawashi. This could be a big, quick match.
Takakeisho vs Kotonowaka – I harbor hopes that Takakeisho, the Grand Tadpole, will eject Kotonowaka like a damaged cassette tape stuck in an ancient Toyota Celica for 20 years. It’s been a while since we saw some solid wave-action, so here’s to hoping he can deliver that today.
Takayasu vs Shodai – I really don’t want to see Shodai as an Ozekiwake in January, so I hope he can find and reactivate his good sumo mode. He’s got a fairly fresh copy of Takayasu as challenger today, and that won’t be easy for him. He does hold a 17-9 career advantage, so it may come down to Takayasu keeping his balance and his feet during his habitual big opening forearm strike.