Hatsu Day 14 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

With the Hatsu basho drawing the a close, the roster of our “Ones To Watch” grow short, as most of our favorite lower division rikishi have completed their 7 matches for the tournament. Before we get into the matches for day 14, lets look at some action from day 13.

Wakaichiro finishes Hatsu 5-2 – His day 13 win over Tainaka saw Wakaichiro return to his powerful oshi attack plan, and control most of the match. With his kachi-koshi +1, precedent suggests a promotion to the bottom of Sandanme for March.

Kenho finishes 1-6 – Completely miserable basho for Kenho, and one has to wonder if his amazingly large size has compounded other problems he might be having. Hopefully he will recover in Osaka and spring back.

Torakio secured his kachi-koshi in the final match, and will be seeded further up the Sandanme ranks in March. It will mark a new career high rank for the young man from Bulgaria, and we wish him good fortune.

Naya was able to confirm his rank in Makushita with a final match kachi-koshi, beating Sandanme rikishi Kirinoryu. Being able to hit-and-hold a Makushita rank is a significant milestone in his progress, and it will be a new high rank for him in March.

Ichiyamamoto closed out the basho with a loss to Kotokamatani, but had already secured his kachi-koshi. With the competition in Makushita being especially tough, a kachi-koshi at this rank is a notable accomplishment. This could return him to the “top 10” in Makushita for March.

Wakamotoharu finished Hatsu unbeaten, and is not only going to join his brother in Juryo in March, but now has a Makushita yusho to his name. Outstanding performance from Wakamotoharu, and we look forward to his Juryo debut.

Akua lost in his final match, finishing Hatsu with a disappointing 2-5 record. He will not be campaigning to return to Sekitori status any time soon, and will need to regroup, and re-climb the Makushita “wall”.

On to day 14’s matches –

Hattorizakura vs Toya – Who are we kidding? This is almost certainly a Toya win. We keep hoping Hattorizakura will start competing, but there is no telling when if ever that will happen.

Musashikuni vs Ohata – Winner gets kachi-koshi from this match, and should Musashikuni pull out a win, it will represent a remarkable and impressive recovery from 0-3 start. We know that Musashikuni has it in him to win, if his body will cooperate.

Midorifuji vs Kaito – Midorifuji already has his kachi-koshi, so this match will determine how high up the banzuke we will see Midorifuji in March.

Hatsu Day 13 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

Many of our “Ones to Watch” are competing in their final match for the Hatsu basho. Many of them have kachi/make-koshi on the line. In the lower divisions, rikishi face opponents with the same win/loss record as themselves. For each match between 3-3 rikishi, one will exit with a kachi-koshi, and one with a make-koshi.

Wakaichiro vs Tainaka – His day 12 match did not end well, with Tenichi propelling him forcefully from the dohyo and into the East side zabuton. He has lost his last 2, but thankfully already had his kachi-koshi tied up. His final match is a tough one, a rematch with Tainaka. The two are evenly matched, and we can hope that Wakaichiro can close out Hatsu with a win.

Kenho vs Kotoharamoto – Kenho has only a single win, and will be returning to Jonidan for March. His final match, and chance to pick up a second win, is against a much smaller, 17 year old rikishi from Sadogatake heya – Kotoharamoto.

Torakio vs Hokutohomare – A Darwin match, the winner is kachi-koshi, and the loser is make-koshi. Torakio has fought well during Hatsu, and he is facing a rikishi who is fighting ast his highest rank.

Naya vs Kirinoryu – Another 3-3 make/kachi-koshi match, Naya has one remaining chance to secure his Makushita rank by defeating Sandanme rikishi Kirinoryu. Kirinoryu is another young rising star, who is himself seeking to return to Makushita.

Ichiyamamoto vs Kotokamatani – Next we jump to the upper ranks of Makushita, and we find two kachi-kishi rikishi (4-2) battling it out to see which one will end up higher on the “Wall” for March.

Wakamotoharu vs Tochinobori – The big match of the night is a battle for the Makushita yusho, and we find Wakamotoharu facing off against Makushita 53 Tochinobori. It may seem odd that the pairing has such a huge rank gap, but with the goal being to get to a single 7-0 yusho winner, these things happen. Wakamotoharu has already punched is Juryo ticket, but this one is for glory.

Akua vs Kotodaigo – Both rikisji are make-koshi, so this is to sort out who gets the bigger demotion. Sadly Akua has missed his best change for a while to return to Juryo, but we can hope he can regroup in Osaka.

Hatsu Day 12 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

Wakaichiro Seeks To Run Up The Score

As we head towards the final weekend of Hatsu, our lower division “Ones to Watch” have a light schedule today, with most of the heavy-hitters having competed day 11. Of special note is the crazy, unthinkable chance that Hattorizakura will pick up his first ever second win of a basho, and the hopes that Wakaichiro can run up the score and move closer to a return to Sandanme.

Hattorizakura vs Hamasu – Sumo’s perpetual loss leader has a chance to set a personal best for any basho by picking up a second win. His opponent is in his first basho as a rikishi, and lord knows what will happen.

Wakaichiro vs Tenichi – Wakaichiro lost his day 10 match, and is now in the 4-1 bracket and out of the Jonidan yusho race. Hopefully this eases any tension he may have felt. What is at stake now is the magnitude of his promotion in March. Tenichi is no easy mark, as he spent 81 basho in Makushita, and certainly has the skill to dismantle anyone in Jonidan. But declining health has left him struggling.

Kenho vs Kaorufuji – Giant Kenho is already make-koshi, and fighting in the 1-4 bracket to try and seek out his second win. His demotion back to Jonidan is more or less certain at this point, and he has never bested Kaorufuji in their 2 prior matches.

Torakio vs Hitenryu – Naruto heya’s Torakio needs to win his final 2 matches to exit Hatsu with a kachi-koshi, and a ranking near the top of Sandanme for March. He faces a former Juryo rikishi who is at the tail end of his career.

Midorifuji vs Koba – Midorifuji needs one more win to secure his kachi-koshi for January, His day 12 opponent, Koba, is a long serving Makushita main stay, who is fighting near his highest ever rank. Should be a good match.

Hatsu Day 9 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

Can Musashikuni stage a come back?

After day 8’s cornucopia of lower division action, day 9 is a leaner beast, with a handful of matches, many with great interest. Wakaichiro battles in the elite group of undefeated Jonidan rikishi, and Wakamotoharu visits Juryo to measure for his hoped-for sekitori promotion in March.

Wakaichiro vs Hokutoo – With his kachi-koshi already secure, Wakaichiro enters an elite group of 13 rikishi with 4-0 records to sort out who gets a shot at the Jonidan yusho. First stop is 26 year sumo veteran Hokutoo from Hakkaku heya. They met once before in September, with Wakaichiro beating him.

Kenho vs Yoshimura – Kenho is winless, and looking to be in poor physical form. With an 0-4 start, the question is how far down the banzuke he will drop for Osaka. His opponent, the much smaller Yoshimura, is suffering through an 0-4 record as well. This may be a chance for Kenho to pick up a much needed win.

Torakio vs Dewaazuma – The Naruto heya rikishi starts day 9 with a 2-2 record. He has fought Dewaazuma twice before, with them splitting the series 1-1. By all counts, this is an even match, and may make for some good sumo.

Musashikuni vs Chiyoarashi – Musashikuni is 1-3, but battled through his physical difficulties for a much need win on day 8. His day 9 match is against Kokonoe heya’s Chiyoarashi, who won their only prior match. Chiyoarashi is a former Juryo man, who was injured in 2013, and has thus far not returned to higher rank.

Midorifuji vs Kitaharima – A 2-2 bracket match features Midorifuji’s second bout with former Maegashira 15 Kitaharima. Midorifuji took their prior match at Kyushu 2018.

Wakamotoharu vs Takekaze – With a 4-0 score in the top ranks of Makushita, Wakamotoharu has a solid chance of getting promoted to Juryo for Osaka, and joining his brother Wakatakakage. But day 9 he faces the ur-veteran Takekaze to test his mettle.

Hatsu Day 7 – Lower Division Ones To Watch

A smaller lineup of our “Ones to Watch” for Saturday, but there are some find Makushita matches to track, as we get towards the half way point for many of these rikishi. The competition for what may be just a handful of Juryo slots will be increasingly brutal as we near the conclusion of Hatsu, and we will be watching with interest.

Kenho vs Kirizakura – Kenho is winless, and another loss today would mean a make-koshi, and a demotion back down to Jonidan. Compared to Kenho’s amazing bulk, 100kg Kirizakura is a light-weight, but I am sure we will see some high-agility small-man sumo tonight.

Naya vs Terao – Naya is looking fairly solid thus far, and comes into this 2-1 bracket looking for his next win. Terao has been knocking around Makushita for the bulk of the last several years, and bring a serious challenge to Kaio’s grandson.

Wakatakamoto vs Ohata – Another 2-1 bracket match we see the lower ranked Waka brother up against a fairly young opponent in Ohata. Ohata, from Tokitsukaze heya, is near his highest ever rank, and seems to be competing well. Should be a good match.

Wakamotoharu vs Fujiazuma – Near the half way point, only a handful of Makushita rikishi are still unbeaten, and these two are the highest ranked. This is a Darwin match, and may have a direct impact on if Wakamotoharu has a shot at breaking in Juryo. With this much on the line, it’s going to be a flat out battle!

Akua vs Kiribayama – Both rikishi enter this match with 2-1 records, but Akua has beaten Kiribayama in both of their prior matches. Both are ranked high enough that its possible they could be considered for elevation to Sekitori, so there is a lot on the line for them both.