Kyushu Day 2 Preview


Aspiring Champions Square Off

Day one certainly had some lackluster matches, but with any luck day 2 will provide a thrill. Without a doubt the schedulers at the Japan Sumo Association decided to toe two of the great story threads together early. Aspiring Yokozuna Goedio will face off against aspiring Ozeki Takayasu.

Meanwhile, given rumors of Okinoumi’s injury, we shudder to think about his face off against Yoshikaze, who gives no quarter.

Notable Matches, Day 2

Ichinojo vs Chiyootori – Ichinojo looked very poor on day 1. No strength, no agility, he looked pretty much lost. Chiyootori won fairly convincingly, so it will be interesting to see if Ichinojo was just rusty after 6 months off, or if he really is starting over.

Kotoyuki vs Shohozan – Shohozan has a good start, but Kotoyuki’s day one match was a real grind which he narrowly lost. This one is a toss up, and could be a great contest of strength sumo

Yoshikaze vs Okinoumi – Yoshikaze is back in good condition, and his day 1 bout was not a slap and push fest, but was rather a strength duel. Okinoumi is rumored to be very hurt, and if true this could be really painful to watch.

Goeido vs Takayasu – In my mind, this is the match of the day. Two rikishi who are pushing forward on a path to promotion, each one needing a win to secure their advance. They meet day two, and only one will be a winner. Goeido fought day one in the same style as his Aki “total offense” style. With Takayasu being a “war of attrition” rikishi, I give an advantage to Goeido

Kotoshogiku vs Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi lost to a resurgent Kakuryu on day one, but did a fairly good job against the grand champion. Now he faces an Ozeki with one approach to any match, but he is the master of the hug-n-chug. I am really keen to see if Mitakeumi can foil Kotoshogiku’s offense

Tamawashi vs Kisenosato – Tamawashi dispatched Harumafuji with little difficulty on day one. Now he faces mass and strength rather and guile and speed. Tamawashi os destined for greatness, he will present well against Kisenosato day 2.

Hakuho vs Aoiyama – Hakuho won on the first day, but did not look to be completely engaged. Winning here would give him 999 wins, which will be a magnificent and well earned achievement. In contrast, Aoiyama looked completely out of his element on the first day. With any luck he will warm up and give the Yokozuna a proper challenge.

Tochiozan vs Kakuryu – Kakuryu looked strong day 1, dispatching Mitakeumi. Now it’s time for Tochiozan. While he is a favorite of mine, he is competing in a very tough group during Kyushu. I expect Kakuryu to win day 2.

Ichinojo Dodges Kisenosato

Yes, Hakuho (11-0) still leads. He’s peerless, the best. He dispatched Takekaze (5-6) with ease. There was no surprise in that, unlike yesterday when Osunaarashi was, for a moment, able to challenge the Yokozuna.

What was surprising was Ichinojo’s (10-1) near-henka victory over Kisenosato (7-4). Kisenosato has a very slow tachiai. He draws more than his fair share of false starts – matta, in Japanese. However, I think the rookie and his coaches outwitted the Ozeki. After being “tempted” into two false starts where he appeared to charge straight at Kisenosato, Ichinojo dodged to his left – exactly opposite Kisenosato’s taped shoulder – and gave Kisenosato a shove to make sure he fell flat on his face. BRAVO.


You’re on notice, Kisenosato, Ichinojo exposed the weakness in slow-rolling your tachiai. He hopes to gain the advantage of knowing his opponent’s plan of attack – but Ichinojo disguised his planned dodge beautifully. This is speculation but I think the youngster planned to bait Kisenosato into thinking he’d take the injured left shoulder head-on. He faked it twice to reinforce the point…then dodged to Kisenosato’s right! Beautiful. I look forward to watching this youngster develop. He’ll face a desparate Goeido (6-5) tomorrow.

In other matches, Kakuryu (10-1) is tied with the young upstart, one loss off pace. Unlike Ichinojo, Goeido really was a bit over-eager to face the Yokozuna. He false started, and on the fair-start Kakuryu was able to quickly gain control and show Goeido to the floor.  Osunaarashi fell to 4-7 against Kotoshogiku (7-4). Kotoshogiku bulled through Osunaarashi’s aggressive slapping attack and pushed the maegashira #4 off the dohyo.

Endo (2-9) got a win against Chiyotairyu (1-10). Ikioi (7-4), still the only rikishi to defeat Ichinojo, won his match against Takanoiwa (4-7). Aminishiki (8-3) is alone with 8 wins since Kyukutenho lost against Tochiozan (both on 7-4). Okinoumi (9-2) still has an outside chance for jun-yusho with his win over Sadanoumi (6-5) as Kakuryu and Ichinojo will be facing stronger opponents in the coming days. Both of them will be battling Ozeki tomorrow while Okinoumi will face maegashira #10 Kitataiki.

In non-tournament related news, I’m eager to start a conversation based on comments made by ex-Kotooshu where he expresses an intent to use data and scientific methods to improve sumo training. It’s a brief article and I’m very eager to learn more.  I’m a data hound and love to pour over the data available over at sumogames (linked in the menu above). However, I know there’s so much more data that could be collected…like information on match duration, injuries, taped body parts, and how many ad banners each rikishi has from sponsors.


Hakuho survives – Fall Tournament, Day 10

Hakuho (10-0) survived a scare against Osunaarashi (4-6). Osunaarashi went for an early pull-down and got Hakuho onto one leg. The fact that he maintained his balance helps demonstrate just how good he is. He was able to regain his footing up against the straw bales and turn the tables on Osunaarashi. In other matches, Kakuryu (9-1) bounced back with a solid victory against Takekaze (5-5). Kisenosato (7-3) fell out of any hope at a championship as he got thrown by Terunofuji (5-5) after a long, patient bout. Kotoshogiku (6-4) aggressively took control in his win against fellow Ozeki Goeido (6-4).

Ichinojo (9-1) continues to impress, dispatching Yoshikaze (6-4) with apparent ease. Yoshikaze started with a slap attack that seemed to catch Ichinojo by surprise, but as soon as he went in to grapple…Ichinojo just threw him. Endo (1-9) was on the attack and seemed in control against Jokoryu (3-7) but Jokoryu was able to get the throw victory while retreating, catching Endo off balance. Endo fell to the dohyo long before Jokoryu landed in the first row of spectators. Ikioi (6-4) survived against a charging Aoiyama (5-5). Aoiyama was pummeling Ikioi, but Ikioi was somehow able to shove Aoiyama out for his sixth win.

Okinoumi won to move to 8-2 and the old guys, Aminishiki and Kyokutenho, continue to impress. Both improve to 7-3.


Welcome to Tachiai

My goals with this blog are to help promote the sport, particularly professional sumo, as well as help other fans find more resources out there.

Today is Day 9 of the Fall tournament. Hakuho leads with a dominant perfect 9-0 record. Kakuryu is one loss back from today’s defeat to Yoshikaze. Harumafuji withdrew earlier last week with an injury to his eye. I have yet to hear whether he has opted for surgery or if he will just rest it. Surgery means a 3 month recovery.

Ichinojo is also one loss back and faces Yoshikaze, who’d be fresh off his Gold Star performance from today.  Ichinojo’s first real test in the Makuuchi came against Ikioi on Friday. Ikioi’s bloody throw-down victory made it to the Wall Street Journal’s blog this morning. For some context, the last time the WSJ covered sumo was when a picture of a bunch of wrestlers on a plane went viral in July. Kind of like, “how many clowns can we fit in a tiny car?”

Ichinojo has certainly been impressive against the lower ranks of the maegashira so I look forward to more challenging matches with the Sanyaku. I imagine that if he wins, he’ll find himself up against Kisenosato, Kakuryu, and maybe Hakuho.

The schedule also has Hakuho facing Osunaarashi tomorrow. Osunaarashi’s not had a great tournament but is always capable of getting a win. Aoiyama was strong against Goeido the other day so he could give Ikioi a challenge. Goeido’s going to have a difficult day tomorrow against Kotoshogiku. Both Ozeki really need to rack up more wins. Kotoshogiku was just under threat of kadoban last tournament but pulled through with a great July…

Elsewhere, in Juryo, Ga-ga-ga-ga-gagamaru needs a strong showing this week. He’s standing on 4-5.