Haru Day 6 – Ones To Watch

Sakaefuji’s Says, “What Are The Rest Of You Going To Eat?” – Photo From The NSK Twitter Feed

Day 5 was brutal to our “Ones to Watch” group, with Musashikuni, Torakio, Shoji, Wakaichiro, and Kenho all going down to defeat. Given the group above, it was not a good day for the Musashigawa clan at all. Several of our lower division rikishi find themselves at a 1-2 record heading into the middle weekend, and having to work hard to avoid a make-koshi for Osaka.

But Ichiyamamoto and Wakatakamoto are at 3-0, and will likely move to the yusho elimination bracket over the weekend. For added excitement, Gokushindo and Chiyootori are also in the 3-0 group in Makushita, so we will see some great matches Saturday and Sunday.

Today’s torikumi features the 3rd match for the remainder of the lower divisions, and today’s final tally will provide a clear picture of the yusho race in all groups.

Day 6 Matches

Hoshoryu vs Kotokamatani – A 1-1 bracket match, Hoshoryu faces another fast rising future start of sumo – the 150kg Kotokamatani from Sadogatake heya. Kotokamatani has spent 15 basho in Makushita, and is fighting at his highest ever rank.

Akua vs Dewahayate – Another 1-1 bracket match, Akua faces a match against frequent opponent Dewahayate from Dewanoumi heya. Like Akua, Dewahayate is a former Juryo man who would love to return to the salaried ranks. They have had 6 prior matches, and are evenly split.

Midorifuji vs Kainoryu – Again in the 1-1 bracket, compact powerhouse Midorifuji will attempt to get a second win over Tomozuna heya’s Kainoryu to improve to 2-1.

Naya vs Tenkaiho – In the 2-0 bracket, Naya will try to follow up his dominant performance on day 4 in his match against 190 kg former Makuuchi rikishi Tenkaiho. Since he lost his Maegashira rank in 2014, Tenkaiho slowly dropped through Juryo, and has been bouncing around of Makushita since. This will be an execellent test for Naya’s developing skills, as this is a skilled veteran.

Terunofuji vs Sakaefuji – With his win over Amakaze, Terunofuji is in the 2-0 bracket: bad knees and all. So the schedulers decide to try him out on the 200 kg Sakaefuji. I have no idea what Terunofuji is going to do with this meat-mountain of a man.

Amakaze vs Toyama – While not officially on our list, Amakaze fights yet another member of Musashigawa, and its Toyama, who is fighting at his highest rank.

Hattorizakura vs Hokutoryu – Its fun to watch the Hattorizakura matches, as the crowd cheer him on every time, hoping that this is the time that he decides to apply himself and put his heart into competition. Japanese sumo fans are (at times) the sweetest people on the planet.

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.