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.