Hatsu Day 11 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

Day 11 brings a full spread of our lower division “Ones to Watch” with 7 matches across Sandanme and Makushita, with many of today’s matches deciding make / kachi koshi. We are likely not going to see Ura again at Hatsu, following re-injury to his right knee. Wakamotoharu is looking likely to join his brother in Juryo for March, and Ichiyamamoto is on track to climb closer to the top of the Makushita “wall”.

Wakamotoharu vs Tochihiryu – Wakamotoharu is in the thick of the yusho race with a 5-0 record, and a likely promotion to Juryo in the balance. His opponent, Tochihiryu, is a former Juryo man himself, and is looking for a path back to the salaried ranks.

Akua vs Daiseido – The loser of this 2-3 bracket match will walk away with a make-koshi today. Akua’s hope to return to Juryo are likely on hold for now, but he still needs to overcome Daiseido to remain in the hunt for promotion after Osaka.

Ichiyamamoto vs Kairyu – A 4-1 bracket match, both rikishi already kachi-koshi, so this is all about fighting for rank in March. Kairyu is a former Makushita yusho winner, and a veteran of 52 basho at this rank. This will be a fierce match.

Hoshoryu vs Kizenryu – There are plenty of indications that Hoshoryu was rattled by the outcome of his match with Ura, that saw the fan favorite hauled away in a wheel chair after re-injuring his right knee. The winner of today’s match will lock in their kachi-koshi, so we hope that Hoshoryu can set aside his worries and gamberize.

Wakatakamoto vs Obamaumi – Another 3-2 bracket match with kachi-koshi on the line. The lowest ranked Onami brother faces off against Sakaigawa’s Obamaumi, who had to re-start his career after an injury.

Musashikuni vs Masutoo – A 2-3 bracket match, where the loser will be make-koshi for Hatsu. Musashikuni had a tough start, but has rallied and won his last 2 matches. If he can win out the rest of the tournament, he can still end Hatsu with a winning record.

Naya vs Amanoshima – Naya looked less than awesome day 10, and now he finds himself in the 2-3 bracket working to avoid make-koshi and a return to Sandanme. As the last man on the Makushita banzuke, he is most certainly on the bubble.

Shoji vs Tagonofuji – The second Musashigawa rikishi on our list today (Wakaichiro has the day off), Shoji is already kachi-koshi, and going for more promotion points today. His opponent is Tagonoura heya’s Tagonofuji, who has settled in to being a Sandanme mainstay.

Ura Loses Day 10 Match, Re-Injures Knee

Day 10 action in Tokyo – during the Makushita division matches in the early afternoon, Ura faced off against rising star Hoshoryu in a match that had sumo fans buzzing around the globe. Hoshoryu dominated the match from the opening moments, with Ura reverting to his evasive, high agility defensive sumo. Hoshoryu was able to grab Ura and throw him. In the throw, Ura planted his right leg and fought the throw, and it seems to strain on his knee was more than it could take.

Hoshoryu Throws Ura – Ura’s Taped Right Knee Buckles

Following the match, Ura could put no weight on that knee, and had to be helped from the dohyo, and once again we saw the horrific sight of Ura being wheeled away in the rikishi-sized wheel chair.

Word has come that he was taken to the hospital for x-rays and scans at once. His opponent Hoshoryu stayed behind after his match, apologizing to Ura repeatedly. For a 19 year old rikishi, it’s a tough burden to think you may have had a part in ending a legend’s career.

We wish Ura a speedy recovery, but we wonder if maybe he should exit the sumo world and preserve whatever knee function remains.

Hatsu Day 10 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

Ura vs Hoshoryu Day 10… Can You Feel The Hype?

The “Ones to Watch” have a light roster for day 10, but what we lack in bulk we make up in intensity. That’s right, the much hoped for Ura vs Hoshoryu is on the torikumi for day 10.

Shoji vs Kototaiki – Both rikishi have 3-1 records, so this match is for kachi-koshi. Kototaiki had to re-set his sumo career in 2015 when he took an extended leave to treat an injury, and re-entered via maezumo. Now a Sandanme mainstay, he’s fighting at close to his highest career rank.

Naya vs Mitotsukasa – A 2-2 bracket match, Naya (Makushita) is taking on a Sandanme rikishi for his day 10 match. Irumagawa heya’s Mitotsukasa is a former university rikishi, who is working to return to Makushita. Should be a solid match.

Wakatakamoto vs Okinofuji – Another 2-2 bracket match, the lowest rank of the Waka* brothers takes on Makushita mainstay Okinofuji. Okinofuji has spent most of the last 2 years in mid Makushita, and will be a tough competitor.

Ura vs Hoshoryu – Maybe the biggest hype around a Makushita match this basho. We have Ura, who has hit the point of his recovery where he actually is having to work for a win, and we have young dynamo Hoshoryu who has reached a rank where his overwhelming natural ability is no longer enough. I am going to guess this match will only last a blink of an eye, but everyone will be watching.

Ichiyamamoto vs Mugendai – A 3-1 bracket match, with kachi-koshi on the line. Mugendai is a solid fighter who was formerly in Musashigawa heya, whose highest ever rank was Makushita 5.

Akua vs Kaisho – The top Makushita match of day 10, Akua’s bid to return to Juryo for Osaka needs him to win out, and to get there he needs to take down Tomozuna heya’s Kaisho, who is fighting well at his highest ever rank.

Hatsu Day 8 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

Day 8, Nakabe – the middle day of the basho, is upon us, and the scheduling team has gone wild putting most of our “Ones to Watch” on the torikumi. Are we excited? Yes indeed! We almost got Herouth’s hoped for match of Ura vs Hoshoryu, but Hoshoryu is taking on Ichiyamamoto (also one of our ones to watch) instead. Should they both win or both lose, they could face each other next.

We also have fan favorite Wakaichiro fighting early in the day, along with several of his Musashigawa stablemates. It’s going to be wall to wall, and Tachiai will be glued to our streams from the start.

Hattorizakura vs Shishimaru – What would nakabe be without the perpetual parade of defeats brought to us by the little guy? We would all love to see him win for a change, but first he must WANT to win.

Wakaichiro vs Asanoshima – I can’t describe how excited I am to see the rikishi from Humble, TX face off against 3-0 Asanoshima. This is in fact a rematch, with Wakaichiro winning their prior match. Asanoshima has been in sumo since the mid 2000s, so it’s youth against experience tonight.

Shoji va Saionji – A 2-1 bracket match pits Musashigawa’s Shoji against Sandanme mainstay Saionji from Shikihide heya. This will probably come down to the all important tachiai, as the two are fairly equally matched.

Torakio vs Kaizen – The scion of Naruto heya faces Asakayama heya’s Kaizen in this 2-1 bracket match. Kaizen has been flipping between Makushita and Sandanme, and tends to get a kachi-koshi at this rank. I predict it will be a bit of an uphill challenge for Torakio.

Musashikuni vs Aozora – A note on Musashikuni (nephew of former Yokozuna Musashimaru), he seems to have suffered a foot injury a few weeks a go, and it has been negatively impacting his sumo. Coming into this match 0-3, make-koshi is on the line, and we hope Musashikuni can find a way to endure the physical challenge and win.

Midorifuji vs Kainoryu – Ushering in the fan favorite section of Makushita, Midorifuji will take on Kainoryu in a 1-2 bracket match. Kainoryu is fighting at his highest ever rank, and looking to pick up 3 wins from the last 4 matches. But former Kinki University rikishi Midorifuji will be no easy mark.

Ura vs Kairyu – This 2-1 bracket match is back to back with another pair of high interest rikishi, and I suspect the atmosphere in the Kokugikan may be closer to that of a top division match for a few minutes. Ura’s opponent is a 28 year old veteran who has been ranked as high as Makushita 2, and represents the kind of rikishi he will have to fight is way past to return to the Juryo ranks.

Hoshoryu vs Ichiyamamoto – Immediately following the Ura match, fan favorite Hoshoryu mounts the dohyo for another 2-1 bracket match. He faces another of our “ones to watch”, former Chuo University star Ichiyamamoto. This one has a lot of potential as well!

Hatsu Day 5 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

We close out act 1 with a tight group of our “ones to watch”. The Makushita Waka* brothers are in action today, and that includes a throw down between Akua and Wakamotoharu! Act 1 is where we found out who is hot, and who is not, and try to figure out who might have a chance at the yusho. The first 5 days of action has been full of fun matches in the lower divisions, and we can expect an exciting ride for the next 10 days.

Naya vs Kirinofuji – A 2-0 bracket match, Naya has been very dominant so far, and shown some great sumo. His match against Kirinofuji has him against a rikishi who seems more comfortable in Sandanme rather than Makushita, so I give Naya a moderate edge.

Wakatakamoto vs Masutoo – In the 1-1 bracket, Wakatakamoto takes on 32 year old veteran Masutoo from Chiganoura heya. Masutoo has struggled with injuries, but is a dependable mid to upper Makushita rikishi. This is a good even match.

Midorifuji vs Tenkaiho – Midorifuji finds himself 0-2 to start Hatsu, and is up against winless Tenkaiho. Tenkaiho may sound familiar, because he is a former Maegashira and Juryo rikishi who has been fighting much lower down the banzuke since mid 2016. Could be a rough match.

Hoshoryu vs Higonojo – After a rough first match, Hoshoryu came back with energy and fighting spirit on day 4, and elevated himself to the 1-1 bracket. Today he faces 34 year old Kise heya veteran Higonojo. It’s going to be a wild match.

Akua vs Wakamotoharu – The “Ones to Watch” match of the night, Near the top of the 2-0 bracket, and likely slugging it out for a possibility to move to Juryo for March are these two. Who is more likely to win? No clue, but can’t wait to see them battle it out.