Jungyo Newsreel – October 22nd


🌐 Location: Osaka

Terunofuji keeps working like mad

terunofuji-22

He came early to the morning practice, and found himself the only member of the joi present. So he got right up on the dohyo and did 14 bouts (opponents unspecified), of which he won 11 and lost 3. You could see him establish a left-hand upper grip right off the tachiai, and powerfully pushing his opponent all in one go. “Not good enough yet. I want to increase the number of bouts.” he said. When asked if he has any concerns regarding his body he replied with a smile “Yes, I have many of those”.

(Nikkan)

Ikioi goes on a diet to relieve back pain

ikioi-22

The Isenoumi wrestler, who was absent from the jungyo due to back pains, revealed that he was diagnosed following the Aki basho with a bulging disc, causing him pains whenever he leaned forward. He was advised not to have surgery, but instead to strengthen the muscles in the affected area, and lose some weight to take some of the load off it. He is on a diet following that advice.

Today he was not doing any on-dohyo exercise, except kiddie sumo, accompanied by cheers from the local crowd, as he is himself from the Osaka Prefecture.

(Sponichi)

Ichinojo leaves the Jungyo due to hernia

He practiced yesterday in Kishiwada, but did not participate in the torikumi, instead heading back to Tokyo. “It’s a hernia, but it’s a preexisting condition. The affected area has probably been overloaded”, said Tamanoi Oyakata, deputy head of the Jungyo department. “It’s not severe.”

(Sponichi)

Hakuho makes love to Takakeisho

In the form of butsukari geiko, of course…

takakeisho-22
The Miracle Of Love

The dai-yokozuna once again dedicated over five minutes to the youngster (shouldn’t he have deducted their Nagoya bout?), and sent him rolling on the ground time and time again.

The Takanohana wrestler was, of course, grateful for the privilege. “It’s not something he would have done for someone he thinks nothing of.”

Following his disastrous Nagoya basho, Takakeisho says he has learned his lesson: “I became depressed after the initial setbacks, and that made it hard for me to even out my score later on. I need to give 100%, grasp at the challenge, and stir things up without thinking too deeply”. Originating from the nearby Hyogo prefecture, Takakeisho vowed that by the next Osaka honbasho, he will be in sanyaku.

(Daily Sports Online)

Bouts

For those who cherish the Kotoyuki hoot:

Mitakeumi takes revenge on Terunofuji:

Can’t believe he lifted that mountain like that…

And the Musubi of the day:

Note the amount of salt that Hakuho throws in the Jungyo…

Different angle:

Kisenosato must be getting pretty frustrated. Hakuho 6 – Kisenosato 2.

Jungyo Newsreel – October 13th


🌐 Location: Nagano

Kisenosato reprimands youngsters, disciplines Asanoyama

This story actually starts yesterday, at Ichinomiya. Kisenosato came to the stadium in the morning with the intention of engaging Asanoyama in some practice, and was dismayed to find only six sekitori around the dohyo – all of them veterans. None of the young talents (Onosho, Takakeisho, Asanoyama etc.) were to be seen.

The Yokozuna liked this not at all, and made his opinions clear to the press: “Keiko is part of their job. When I was young, I never missed keiko. If you want to become strong, you have to be diligent. And there are spectators present who came today especially to see Asanoyama, the freshman who won ten bouts in the Aki Basho. The Yokozuna and Ozeki are present, but where are the young sekitori?”

The message apparently got through and today at Nagano the mean age around the dohyo dropped significantly. But Kisenosato didn’t let it go at that.

kisenosato-asanoyama-butsukari

The Yokozuna summoned Asanoyama to a session of disciplinary butsukari, which extended to five minutes of tough TLC, apparently accompanied by some talking-to. “The words were rough, too”, said Kisenosato. “Do I have expectations of him? Yes, though saying this to someone who doesn’t give a hoot is worthless.”

Edit: I originally translated from this article in Sponichi, but now they published another version, which makes the statements clearer. Bakanofuji’s translation of Kisenosato’s statement about Takakeisho and Onosho in the comments makes sense now that it is in the context of Hakuho’s return rather than the message to Asanoyama.

Mitakeumi welcomed as a hero on his home turf

Today was Mitakeumi’s day. He hails from Nagano prefecture, and the Jungyo today comes two years after the previous visit. The local police honored him (and Onosho, I have no idea why, as he comes from Aomori) as “police chief for a day”, which mainly consisted of Mitakeumi keeping his face straight, warning the elderly not to fall victim to phone solicitations.

Sumo-wise, almost 7000 people gathered in the stadium to see the local hero, and during the customary handshake part of the day, a long line formed waiting for Mitakeumi to shake their hand. On the dohyo, the sekiwake took some low-rankers for butsukari, and put some extra effort into the wanpaku-keiko goofiness. He even got his oicho-mage done in front of the spectators:

mitakeumi-oicho

He finished up with a torikumi vs. Goeido, ending with a tsuridashi in favor of the local celebrity, to the delight of the spectators. View it all here:

(This is taken from NHK)

“I’m glad I could come back here as sanyaku”, said the sekiwake.

Torikumi of the day

Lots of torikumi today! Thank you, sumo lovers of Nagano!

For Taka-twin lovers, let’s start with Takayoshitoshi vs. Terao:

And complete that with Takagenji vs. Yago.

Uch, Yago should not have tried that grip change. Very clumsy.

Edit: The YouTube videos were removed by their owner, so I can only describe the Kotoyuki vs. Asanoyama bout: Kotoyuki hoots, knocks the air out of Asanoyama twice, then when Asanoyama goes low and tries to headbutt his chest, he sidesteps. Asanoyama recovers and turns around, but Kotoyuki adds a rapid tsuppari and sends Asanoyama out by oshidashi.

The Takarafuji-Chiyoshoma starts with Chiyoshoma gaining a slight advantage. Takarafuji backs down, but gets a good grip, picks up Chiyoshoma and throws him off the dohyo and onto poor Nishikigi. This is followed by a bout between Ishiura and Chiyonokuni, in which Ishiura does the most flagrant Henka in the world, and then you get this:

Chiyonokuni flies out and… falls on Nishikigi on the sidelines. End of edit.

Poor, poor Nishikigi! And poor granny behind Nishikigi! Well, now we know why he puts his glasses somewhere safe and far away from the dohyo every time. 🙂

Actually, he didn’t suffer too much from that. In fact, it seems that he did two Torikumi today and won both (first one not really well filmed):

The one vs. Ichinojo (right after the granny incident):

As far as I understand, he did this one while covering for Arawashi. No word on what happened to Arawashi, though.

If I get a video of the musubi-no-ichiban I’ll be sure to post it. The result was yori-kiri for Kakuryu (vs. Kisenosato, obviously).

Tomorrow Hakuho is back, so maybe there will be some variation in the musubi from now on!

Jungyo Newsreel – October 11


🌐 Location: Hamamatsu

After a short break in which the rikishi went back from Ibaraki to Tokyo, they got on their buses again and traveled back to Shizuoka prefecture, venturing further than before, south to Hamamatsu. By now, even Aminishiki is gently complaining in his blog about the busy schedule.

That is, all got on buses but the Yokozuna, who instead took the Tokaido shinkansen along with their respective retinues, straight to Hamamatsu. It’s good to be the King.

It’s actually rare for all participating Yokozuna to travel together, as usually each makes his own arrangements (or has them made for him). This time they all had a reception to attend, and therefore traveled together.

Let’s see what they have been up to since finishing with their non-sumo obligations:

Kisenosato gives Daieisho a nosebleed

daieisho-bleedingKisenosato once again engaged Daieisho in san-ban. They did 10 bouts, of which Kisenosato won 8 and lost 2. And Daieisho, as you can see, also lost a bit of blood.

Sponichi reports that Kisenosato was in good form, used his left arm, and entertained the viewers with excellent mobility. Me? I’ll believe that when I see it. Unfortunately, it seems that no obasan was kind enough to record any of the events. If I see any video, I’ll be sure to edit it in later on.

Kakuryu practices with Asanoyama

kakuryu-asanoyama

Having been dumped by Kisenosato in favor of Daieisho, Asanoyama has been batting his pretty eyelashes at Kakuryu. Apparently Kakuryu couldn’t resist much longer, and offered him some Yokozuna love. That is, a sanban. I suppose Asanoyama’s tachiai is better than Shodai’s.

Harumafuji gives Ichinojo personal tutoring

Harumafuji, in addition to all the other responsibilities he seems to enjoy accepting, has taken it upon himself to give sumo lessons to anybody around the dohyo who is willing to listen. In the Natsu jungyo, he taught Goeido his arm and shoulders workout routine. In this Jungyo, at Chikusei, he picked Meisei and demonstrated waza to him (seemed to be ashitori), patiently placing Meisei’s hands on his own person to clarify the points. Today he took up Ichinojo.

ichinojo-harumafuji-lesson

While the other sekitori were busy with moshi-ai geiko (winner picks next opponent), the Yokozuna spent about half an hour making Ichinojo do suri-ashi repeatedly, and at the same time physically corrected his technique, such as the use of his left arm. “It was a tachiai practice. I just taught him what I know. But whether he’ll diligently ingest this or not is up to him,” said Harumafuji.

Ichinojo himself was dutifully thankful, and noted that it has been a long time since he received guidance from the Yokozuna. “If I can get this down pat, I’ll have confidence facing the next basho”, he added. The Yokozuna remarked: “That depends on him”.

Ichinojo himself paid it forward, picking Yago for butsukari:

ichinojo-butsukari-yago

Now, this makes a lot more sense than Nishikigi offering his chest to Yago. This is a butsukari whose video I’d love to find. I’m sure when those two bodies clashed, seismographs around Shizuoka went into the red.

Terunofuji achieves pole position in race for Darwin Award

terunofuji-leaning-on-shunba
Terunofuji, the knee disaster personified, announced today that he will… oy… be joining the… oy… Jungyo as of October 19th, when it stops at Kashiba in Nara. Sorry, it’s really painful for me to type this. Oy.

Reminder: last time the fallen Ozeki prematurely returned to action, it ended up as you see on the left. And he just refuses to learn. I wonder how much more of this Shunba can take.

A less painful addition to the Jungyo occured today, as the recovering Yutakayama joined forces with the rest of the Makuuchi.

Nagoya Final Day Preview


Aoiyama2

It’s the last day of sumo until September, and frankly the Nagoya basho has been a lot of fun. As a fan, the unpredictable nature of this basho has kept me focused and looking for the next turn and twist on the road to the end. The road to the yusho has been rather straight the entire time. It’s been all Hakuho. I know that NHK and some in the press are attempting to fan the remote possibility that Aoiyama would challenge on the final day, it will come to naught. I am looking for Yokozuna Hakuho to once again lift the Emperor’s Cup just before I wake for my Sunday.

Even though the yusho is more or less settled, day 15 still has heaps of critical matches, as some rather important rikishi still battle to finish Nagoya with a winning record. This includes:

  • Goeido – I am sure he would rather not be kadoban again, so he must defeat Takayasu. Takayasu looks injured and distracted, so I am giving him better than even odds if he can boot up on 2.0 mode Sunday.
  • Tamawashi – His Sekiwake rank at stake, he needs to defeat a really strong Tochiozan. I am looking for Tochiozan to once again be calm, measured and methodical. This should be a really good match.
  • Daishomaru – They give him Maegashira 1 Takakeisho for the final day, so he really needs to work for this kachi-koshi.
  • Ichinojo (and Sadanoumi) – The schedulers seem to love doing this. Take two rikishi who are 7-7 the final day and make them fight for the winning record. Only one of these guys can get it.
  • Nishikigi – Readers will note I have been following Nishikigi closely the entire basho, as I think his struggle to re-affix himself to Makuuchi is a compelling story.
  • Arawashi – Also left begging on the final day. I do hope he can make it. His opponent is the already deeply maki-koshi Okinoumi

Nagoya Leaderboard

Leader – Hakuho
Bulgarian In Waiting – Aoiyama

What We Are Watching Day 15

Tokushoryu vs Nishikigi – Last chance for Nishikigi to pull this one out and stay in Makuuchi for the September basho. Tokushoryu has had a lousy basho but is probably safe in Makuuchi even with a 11th loss.

Ichinojo vs Sadanoumi – A very Darwin battle – Loser gets demoted and the winner gets promoted. If Sadanoumi loses, he faces a real chance of being sent back to Juryo. Brutal.

Yoshikaze vs Aoiyama – The schedulers finally give Aoiyama a tough match. Hopefully Yoshikaze will give him a vigorous battle. In the past, an effective combat (but disgusting) strategy has been to grab a handful of man-boob and start shoving.

Tamawashi vs Tochiozan – Will Tochiozan do Tamawashi any favors? Tamawashi really likes his san’yaku slot, but Tochiozan as never been afraid to run up the score. I am going to guess these two battle it out for real, and Tochiozan has a career 9-2 advantage over Tamawashi.

Takayasu vs Goeido – Goeido really needs this one, and he has the advantage of fighting an Ozeki that has seemed injured and a bit off his sumo. But historically Takayasu leads 15-8 over their career. An Aki kadoban Goeido would be a terrible thing, because Terunofuji is already kadoban.

Hakuho vs Harumafuji – The big battle to end the basho. On the chance that Harumafuji wins and Aoiyama, there would be an playoff bout between Hakuho and Aoiyama immediately following the bow twirling ceremony. Should this rediculous stunt take place, it may end painfully for Aoiyama.

Natsu Day 13 Preview


Hakuho-Kensho

Marking Time Till The Final Showdown

Most of the questions around Natsu were resolved on day 12, and so the last big question – and it’s a big one, is the yusho. Right now, Yokozuna Hakuho has a 1 match lead over Yokozuna Harumafuji. Due to Kisenosato and Kakuryu’s withdraw, they will meet on the final bout of day 15. If both remain at their current scores (12-0, 11-1), Harumafuji can force a playoff by beating Hakuho. I can almost hear the echo of Osaka.

But first the two surviving Yokozuna have to navigate a few challengers. I would expect them to win the next two matches, but there is always an opting for wild outcomes.

There is also the question of the special prizes. Right now Ura, Takayasu, Tamawashi, Tochinoshin and Takakeisho could possibly be considered. For the most part it comes down to 10 wins or more.

For those looking forward to our July banzuke discussion, I dare you to try and figure out the Makuuchi <-> Juryo moves. No one in Juryo will end up with more than 10 wins, ok – that’s not too uncommon, but then there are 7 more that could end up with 9 wins. At this point, only J2w Kyokushuho and J4e Nishikigi look like they might be promotable. But then you have maybe 4 Maegashira who are probably worthy of demotion back to Juryo. Maybe once it’s all over the picture will make more sense, but I doubt it. One thing is certain, the July banzuke is going to have a huge amount of churn.

Natsu Leader board

LeaderHakuho
Hunt Group – Harumafuji
Chasers – Terunofuji, Takayasu, Ura

3 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 13

Sadanoumi vs Kaisei – I am guessing they are trying on Sadanoumi as another promotable. Kaisei is still struggling to lock up a kachi-koshi, he needs 2 more wins.

Kotoyuki vs Kagayaki – Kagayaki has his kachi-koshi, and Kotoyuki may be headed to Juryo, he is also at least somewhat injured. Thus far Kotoyuki leads career matches 3-0, but with him being injured, and Kotoyuki improving quite a bit this basho, it’s time for a new page in their record book.

Ichinojo vs Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu can lock up his kachi-koshi with a win over the towering Ichinojo. I don’t know what happened to Ichinojo, but he really seems so very lost this basho. I think he could be a big deal (and not just his mass to height ratio), but like so many rikishi, he needs to clear up lingering health issues.

Daishomaru vs Takakeisho – Daishomaru trying for his kachi-koshi today against a red-hot Takakeisho. They are evenly matched career wise, but I am guessing Daishomaru may get this one.

Hokutofuji vs Onosho – Another lab experiment bout brought on by kyujo pock-marks in the torikumi. You could look at it as Maegashira 7 vs Maegashira 14, or as two up-and-coming youngsters duking it out. I do know that Onosho has a fun habit of beating Hokutofuji. So I bet this one is a brawl.

Ura vs Ikioi – Oh yes, thank you oh Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan! This is the kind of match that myself and sumo fans around the globe live for. What kind of bizzaro stuff is Ura going to produce today? Will Ikioi decode his incantations and put a stop to Ura’s sorcery?

Tochinoshin vs Shodai – Yes, yes, a hundred times yes! Both sumotori have secured their promotions, now it’s just to see who is king of the hill. Once again we get the big guy who can’t quite tachiai, against a man with tree trunks for thighs, who can and probably does lift the Tokyo Skytree so they can vacuum under it.

Chiyoshoma vs Yoshikaze – Now that the promotion lanes are going to be open, I am keen to see Yoshikaze reach his magic 8 wins, and cement himself in the San’yaku for July. Chiyoshoma is running on fumes, but can still deliver a great match, as he has dropped Takarafuji and Takakaze in the last two days.

Mitakeumi vs Endo – This goes double for Mitakeumi, I am pulling for him to get his magic 8 and remain in the San’yaku. By the dangly bits of Chiyonofuji, I think he can do it. Endo still has a slim chance at kachi-koshim but he has a bit of an uphill fight. Endo did look very sharp against Yoshikaze day 11, and that a hell of a brawl.

Terunofuji vs Tochiozan – Time to see if our favorite Kaiju was hurt badly on day 12, or if was just some kind of cramp that the trainers could work out. I really pray that Terunofuji can stay healthy, because for the past 2 basho, he has been the only credible Ozeki to be found. Tochiozan will provide a good test for him.

Harumafuji vs Takayasu – These two really do throw down hard. But it’s been since Aki that Takayasu actually won against “The Horse”. A win by the hairy one would cement his Ozeki status, and knock Harumafuji out of the yusho race. But my money is on Harumafuji for day 13, is only loss was a silly slip, and apart from that he is really in excellent form.

Tamawashi vs Hakuho – Hakuho has one goal now, keep in form and pick up no injuries. Tamawashi is strong enough to be a spoiler, but “The Boss” has been in most excellent form this basho, and it’s really magic to watch him do his sumo once more.

Kyushu Day 13 Preview


kakuryu

If you do not control your opponent, your opponent will control you

Book of Five Rings

Sumo fans could not ask for a more exiting final Friday of 2016. Across the two upper divisions (Juryo and Makuuchi), there is a mad scramble for the championship. With just a few bouts remaining, there is a broad group of rikishi that could claim the yusho. Recall that by this time during the Aki basho, we were very sure it was going to be Goeido, we just did not know if it would be a perfect record or not.

Going into day 13, no one remains with a perfect record, and the mightiest men in Sumo now face each other, as the Yokozuna will compete against both the upper Ozeki, and their fellow Yokozuna during the last three days. As each of these men are leading contenders for the championship, which sekitori has the lead in the yusho race to change moment by moment during the final bouts of each day.

The idea scenario for maximum drama would require Hakuho to beat Kakuryu, Harumafuji to beat Goeido, Kisenosato to beat Tochinoshin, and Ishiura to beat Arawashi. That would create a 4 way tie for the lead, with 2 days left.

Notable Matches

Ishiura vs Arawashi – Ishiura faced a very capable Ikioi on day 12, and Ikioi did not charge head-long into Ishiura’s mini-henke. Time to see if Arawashi learned this lesson as well. I expect Ishiura to face at least one more higher level rikishi before the end of the basho. Ishiura is very evenly matched against Arawashi, with a 2-3 record.

Sokokurai vs Takarafuji – Takarafuji is going for his kachi-koshi again today, this time against Sokokurai. Thus match will likely be a strength test between the two men, with a slight edge to Sokokurai.

Shohozan vs Ichinojo – Shohozan should pick up his kachi-koshi today, as Ichinojo is really struggling this tournament. To his credit, Ichinojo is at .500 with three days to go, and kachi-koshi is still possible for him. Slight advantage to Fukuoka home town favorite Shohozan.

Endo vs Okinoumi – It has been a surprising basho for both of these rikishi. Endo had a very strong start, and has faded as of late. He needs a win here against the injured Okinoumi to make a credible case for finishing the tournament with a winning record. Slight advantage to Endo on this one.

Tamawashi vs Terunofuji – Tamawashi will attempt to score a winning tournament record today against the man-mountain Terunofuji. Tamawashi has been doing well, and Terunofuji is injured – but Terunofuji also just beat Hakuho, so I would say Tamawashi won’t find his eighth win today.

Tochinoshin vs Kisenosato – In the strangest match up of day 13, Maegashira 6 Tochinoshin faces off against Yokozuna killer Kisenosato. Tochinoshin has been (in the past) sort of a one trick pony – he likes to lift people up and carry them around. That won’t work against Kisenosato in any reasonable scenario. One of two things (or both) are happening here. First, it could be that the schedules want to give Kisenosato an easy match to make sure he can play spoiler in any potential play-off. Second, it may be the case that they want to see if Tochinoshin can recuse himself well against a solid Ozeki. Worth watching, but my thought is that Kisenosato will take care of him without too much bother.

Hakuho vs Kakuryu – This is one of the two highly anticipated matches for day 13. Hakuho has to be smarting, having been handed a third loss by Terunofuji. I am going to expect that he is hungry for revenge. Kakuryu has been winning, but he has been reactive to my eye, rather than dominating his matches. Hakuho dominates matches, even in his injured state. I can’t wait to see how this one turns out. Historically, Hakuho has a huge advantage over Kakuryu.

Harumafuji vs Goeido – Harumafuji should be gunning for Goeido. The path to Goeido’s Aki yusho went through Harumafuji, and their match was won at the last moment when Goeido engaged a twisting throw at the edge. I have absolute confidence that the “Good” Goeido will be on the dohyo today. After the brutal “codpiece throw” that is part of the NHK intro, Goeido has a large supply of payback to throw at Harumafuji. This will be, in my mind, possibly the most exciting sumo of the day, even though the Hakuho match will go farther to determine the yusho race. Harumafuji has a huge lead in their career record, 29-10. Go boldly Goeido!

Juryo Note

The Juryo-yusho race is every bit as wild as the one in Makuuchi. The sole leader, Seiro (10-2) faces off against Osunaarashi (9-3) early in the Juryo matches. Shortly afterwards, Satoyama (9-3) faces off against Sato (9-3). One of these rikishi is likely to be to Juryo tournament winner, and it’s great to see the schedule putting them head to head during the last few days.

Kyushu Day 12 Preview


soken-kise

You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain
Book of Five Rings

The Kyushu basho has been a mixed bag, much more so than the other sumo tournaments this year. With day 11, the head has been turned to boil, and 5 rikishi all have solid chances of contending for the championship. Strangest among them is newcomer Ishiura, who has an impressive 10-1 record heading into day 12. His matches are likely to get progressively tougher for the final 4 days of Kyushu, as the Sumo Kyokai test his skill and resilience. At the bottom of Makuuchi, he faced some decent opponents, but he will be tested against upper level wrestlers. It’s quite important they not promote him too quickly, and risk injury, when much of Japan is going Ishiura crazy.

That leaves us with 4 – All 3 Yokozuna and the real wildcard this basho, Kisenosato. I have no idea how much more amazing sumo Kisenosato can produce this tournament. Frankly he has already exceeded expectations. Everything from here on out is just gravy.

Hakuho is still very good, but I continue to think he is nursing his injuries, and we won’t see him at full strength until January in Tokyo. But he is one of the most inventive, wily sumotori in recent history. If given the opportunity, he will find a way to win.

Kakuryu is about to face the real test of his fitness to win the yusho – the other Yokozuna. He has been largely defensive this basho, even against much lower ranked opponents. But up until yesterday, it has worked for him.

Which brings us to Harumafuji. He only has 1 loss, and frankly I think he has been the best of the three Yokozuna this basho, and I like his chances of once again walking away the Emperor’s Cup.

While the yusho race is the headline grabber, most of the rikishi are pushing to try and secure a winning record and stave off demotion. Right now its all about kachi-koshi further down the banzuke.

Notable Matches

Chiyoshoma vs Gagamaru – Chiyoshoma could pick up his kachi-koshi today. Gagamaru is really hit or miss, and slightly more miss than hit. These two have only met twice, with Chiyoshoma winning both times.

Sokokurai vs Arawashi – Sokokurai also striving to overcome the blazing offense of Arawashi to reach his kachi-koshi. Sokokurai has been doing very well this basho, and if he does not overcome Arawashi, I have great confidence that Sokokurai will get this done. On top of that, Sokokurai has won their prior matches 7-4

Ishiura vs Ikioi – First of the headline matches of the day. After day 11, I am sure he is ready for another match. This time its against the new start of sumo, Ishiura. Ishiura has been employing a mini-henka at the tachiai. I am hoping that Ikioi recognizes this is coming, stands his ground and delivers him a solid match. This is the first time these two rikishi have met.

Ichinojo vs Tochinoshin – I am looking for the big Georgian to send the giant sumo robot (Ichinojo) into reboot mode. His next win will put him in positive territory with a kachi-koshi. His record against Inchinojo is 7-2, so Tochinoshin has the leading edge in their series.

Takayasu vs Yoshikaze – Both of these sumotori are really struggling this basho. Both of them are among my favorites. I have tegata from both men on my wall. Takayasu took a nasty header into the tawara on day 10, and I wonder if he was seriously hurt. Yoshikaze’s sumo is all about move and strike, as we saw against Endo. Takayasu is all about strength and power, which he was not able to deploy against Hakuho. Takayasu leads their career match ups 8-6

Goeido vs Endo – This should be an easy pick up for Goeido. The past two days he has reverted back to his “good” mode and has been a real joy to watch. Endo is in danger of going make-koshi if he is not careful, but he won’t likely pick up a win today.

Kotoshogiku vs Kakuryu – Kotoshogiku is already back to kadoban status, and I doubt he will do much to Kakuryu, as Kotoshogiku has been injured the entire tournament. I would really rather that Kotoshogiku just declare himself kyujo, and start recovering now. But I think the Ozeki’s pride won’t allow that, and he will face a formidable Kakuryu.

Harumafuji vs Kisenosato – Most likely the match of the day. Kisenosato has been 2 Yokozuna in the past two days, and he faces Harumafuji on day 12. While I have confidence that Kisenosato is really in fine form this tournament, Harumafuji tends to win their match ups. Harumafuji deployed minimal effort in the first week, but has shown his fantastic Yokozuna chops in the past few days. I expect that it will be a short bout with Harumafuji the winner.

Hakuho vs Terunofuji – Terunofuji needs one more win for kachi-koshi, and to clear his kadoban status. I don’t think he will get it from Hakuho, who while not at full capability, is probably more than enough to defeat Terunofuji. Terunofuji has been fighting well in spite of ongoing knee problems.