Haru Day 8 (Nakabi) – Ones To Watch

While Hoshoryu has hit the Makushita wall, his sometimes rival, Naya, finished day 7 with a 4-0 record. Already kachi-koshi, he now enters the yusho bracket, along with any other rikishi who manage to finish their 4th match with 4 wins. Day 7 also saw Terunofuji win, to bring him to 4-0, and into the Jonidan yusho bracket. Meanwhile Wakaichiro dominated his day 7 match against Kotourasaki, and improved to 2-2.

On to day 8 action!

Hoshoryu vs Kotodaigo – This is an even match of two lean, fast moving rikishi who focus on technical sumo over size or brute strength. At Makushita 7, Hoshoryu is finding the competition especially tough, and is challenged as never before in his sumo career. While very optimistic fans entertained the notion of a strong kachi-koshi launching Hoshoryu to Juryo, the top 10 ranks of Makushita are a slaughterhouse, and most feel thankful just to rack up their 4th win.

Ichiyamamoto vs Gokushindo – Former Juryo man Gokushindo dropped to Ms20 for Haru, but his 3-0 record brings him up to battle Ichiyamamoto. Gokushindo has been a sekitori, and he wants back in the life of sumo’s nobility, and he is fighting like he means it. Ichiyamamoto’s sumo is red-hot this basho, so this might be an epic clash of rikishis battling for their kachi-koshi.

Wakatakamoto vs Chiyootori – Another former sekitori, Chiyootori, is also in the 3-0 bracket. The winner gets their kachi-koshi and moves on to join Naya in the yusho bracket. The last of the lower ranked Onami brothers seems to have strong motivation to join his brothers in Juryo.

Torakio vs Oisato – Naruto heya scion, Torakio, is having a terrible Haru. He is 0-3, and a loss on day 8 would mean make-koshi. His rank means he is safe in Sandanme, but it would be a setback for his work to reach Makushita.

Torakio vs Mori – Sumo’s leviathan, Kenho, looks to pick up his second win against the much much smaller Mori.

Hattorizakura vs Toya – Hattorizakura has faced Toya 3 times, and lost every time. Although not as meek as Hattorizakura, Toya has yet to achieve a single kachi-koshi tournament.

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.