Aki Day 7 Preview


The time has come for the pivotal middle weekend of this crazy basho. Now solidly in the second act of Aki, this middle weekend is when we will finally get a look at our yusho race. Here at Tachiai, it will be time for us to track them via our leaderboard. Hopefully, dear readers, none of you are going to assume too much until day 13, as this basho is still a crazy jumble of the old and new fighting for supremacy. Right now, none of the Tachiai crew would be too willing to guess which faction will prevail, but lksumo will likely spot it first.

The big change is no rikishi is undefeated now. And we should all be ready for this basho to finish much like some of the Juryo tournaments earlier this year, with our leaders holding 2-3 losses, or possibly even more. One things seems quite certain, the team making the Kyushu banzuke is going to have their hands full.

What We Are Watching Day 7

Asanoyama vs. Daiamami – Daiamami is up from Juryo to help balance the swiss-cheese Makuuchi torikumi. Because Asanoyama just recently left Juryo himself, they actually have a track record, 2-1 in Daiamami’s favor.

Daishomaru vs. Tokushoryu – Daishomaru continues to dominate the lower end of Makuuchi, and day 7 he goes up against the hapless Tokushoryu, who seems doomed to exit the top division by Kyushu. Daishomaru holds a 4-2 career advantage.

Kaisei vs Chiyomaru – Kaisei is looking much better than he has in about a year. I think he lost some weight during his Juryo demotion, and he is moving better. He is still ¾ lumbering blob, but his sumo is better now. Chiyomaru comes in at 3-3, with Kaisei wining their only prior match.

Daieisho vs. Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi comes back from going kyujo, and it seems he gets to be the hacky-sack for the genki crowd in lower Maegashira. Daieisho comes in 5-1, tied with Daishomaru, and holding a career 3-2 advantage against Sadanoumi.

Endo vs. Takekaze – Time for Endo to start facing rikishi further up the banzuke, and it starts with a hapless Takekaze, who is suffering with a 5-1 record right now. Takekaze needs to turn things around this weekend, or face a stiff demotion.

Chiyonokuni vs. Arawashi – with matching records going into day 6, and their career match records at 5-5, this is going to be a fairly even match up. We can hope that both of them will go at it like cranky badgers stuck in a culvert.

Takakeisho vs. Chiyotairyu – Another symmetric match up. Both rikishi 4-2, with a 2-2 career match record. Both rikishi have been using a very limited range of sumo strategies thus far, so here’s to hoping that one or both get creative on day 7.

Hokutofuji vs. Onosho – Onosho took his first loss on day 6, but he is still part of the leader group. Hokutofuji is at .500 going into the middle weekend, and needs to push to get wins and stay in the hunt. Onosho leads the series 3-1.

Tamawashi vs. Kotoshogiku – Thank goodness the threat of “Kotoshogiku Day” has faded somewhat. I assure you dear readers, that should it come to pass, I shall indeed (even if no one else does), make and star in that Kotoshogiku tribute video. But now comes a chance for Tamawashi to push that possibility further away. Kotoshogiku leads the series 5-7.

Tochinoshin vs. Yoshikaze – Both of these rikishi had a lot of hopes at the start of Aki, now both are struggling for enough wins to stave off make-koshi. Tochinoshin seems significantly diminshed from his performance in Nagoya, so Yoshikaze may take this one. But Tochinoshin leads their career match-ups 14-8.

Mitakeumi vs. Tochiozan – Mitakeumi needs to keep rolling, and he has a chance to do that against 1-5 Tochiozan. Tochiozan is also greatly diminished from his Nagoya performance, and we have to wonder about injuries.

Shodai vs. Goeido – Goeido has a puzzle for today. With Shodai’s weak tachiai, the sole remaining Ozeki can’t repeat his backwards sumo as well. I am going to expect Shodai to more or less stand up at the tachiai, and this will force Goeido to actually go on offense. Shodai has beaten Goeido twice, but Goeido leads their series 4-2.

Shohozan vs Harumafuji – We were delighted that Harumafuji won day 6, and stablized at .500. He faces Shohozan now, who has been really pouring on the offense. Harumafuji has him on speed, but it’s clear he is suffering.


Haru Day 6 Preview


Cage Match of Undefeateds As Act 2 Begins

With the first third of Haru behind us, it’s time to crack the lid on the second act. The second act of a basho is where the rikishi on “hot streaks” get increasingly significant challenges, with the idea being to see who has been hiding behind an easy schedule. Starting day 6, it’s clear the schedulers are turning the intensity up another notch.

Matches We Like

Takakeisho vs Tokushoryu – These two slap-happy rikishi have been part of the crew at the lower end of Makuuchi who have been pounding each other silly. All of the younger guys are pushme-pullyous, and it makes things a bit generic. But sometimes its cool to watch these guys smack each other around.

Ura vs IshiuraThank you oh Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan! The tiny wonders face in a brawl of strength vs agility. This may be a whole nothing burger, but it might just create a tear in the fabric of the universe that results in cotton candy for all. Be ready for amazement!

Ichinojo vs Okinoumi – Well, Ichinojo’s been plowing along like a giant St. Bernard in a snow bank. It’s not pretty but you know he’s going to get there. But let’s pretend to Okinoumi does not suffer from a painful pelvic wound… Wouldn’t you like to see him contort Ichinojo for a bit? We all do. Let’s see if he can make it happen.

Kaisei vs Aoiyama – Battle of meat mountains! Kaisei is back, yes indeed. After injuring himself on a play date with Hakuho, he took a week or so to recover. Let’s see if he can impress Aoiyama. No matter who wins, it’s going to be HUGE!

Endo vs Chiyonokuni – Both of these guys don’t get much press, but both of them are doing pretty well this basho. Chiyonokuni struggled after going through a round of bulking up, but seems to have it under control now. Endo is a few steps behind the “up and coming” team, but he will, I presume, eventually shed his larval form and emerge as MechaEndou.

Kotoshogiku vs Mitakeumi – Kotoshogiku’s one good leg may have blown out on day 5. So the Cinderella run to reclaim Ozeki may have perished. Even so, as we have shown yesterday, the ones everyone has to look out for this tournament are Komusubi and Sekiwake. Everybody loves Kotoshogiku, but Mitakeumi needs more wins.

Goeido vs Tamawashi – Goeido, mucho respect for coming out for your home town basho after some orthopedic guy rebuilt your ankle. But it’s not working. Go kyujo now, and avoid a career ending bout. Nobody is going to try to hurt you, but you are dangerous to yourself right now.

Takayasu vs Terunofuji – Oh hell yes! Undefeated kadoban Ozeki vs undefeated Sekiwake gunning for an Ozeki slot. Takayasu has been fighting calm and in control, Terunofuji like an demon possessed. Only one will remain undefeated. I intend to drink an entire bottle of Sake before watching this, and the following match. This is my match of the day

Takarafuji vs Kisenosato – Not sure if this one will be anti-climatic, but Takarafuji has been fighting well. But I would expect that Kisenosato will take care of this guy.

Harumafuji vs Yoshikaze – Harumafuji is struggling. He is still injured and not fighitng well. His footing has been off for the past few days, and I worry that thigh muscle tear is still causing problems. Harumafuji and Yoshikaze have history, a lot of history. Most of it involves pain, blood and hospital stays.