Aki Basho Day 1 Lower Division Intrigue

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Following our earlier, proper preview post, here are a few “ones to watch” from Day 1’s action. If you’re a follower of lower division activity then you may well look forward to some of these…

Jonokuchi

Hattorizakura (Jk34) vs Chiyotsurugi (Jk33) – The main man Hattorizakura gets the basho underway, with a current losing streak of 24 very much under threat from lowest ranked debutant Chiyotsurugi.

Senho (Jk31) vs Urutora (Jk32) – Another Hakuho recruit, Senho starts his career against Hattorizakura’s mildly higher achieving but still tiny 30 year old stablemate, who makes his return to action after a lengthy layoff.

Ayaminato (Jk29) vs Hokutenkai (Jk29) – As referenced in the recent Tachiai Podcast, I’ve been looking forward to Hokutenkai’s debut since seeing him in action earlier this year during a keiko session at Onoe beya. He’s the nephew of former sekitori Takanoiwa.

Nishikio (Jk26) vs Murata (Jk27) – Murata, who had a storming start to his career and made it to the very edge of the line separating heaven and hell at Makushita 1, is slated to return following sporadic appearances during a long injury layoff which slowed his descent down the banzuke. Will he be back or will this be it for the basho?

Jonidan

Motobayashi (Jd16) vs Imafuku (Jd18) and
Marusho (Jd15) vs Tochinoshima (Jd17):

I’ve bracketed these both together as Marusho and Motobayashi (the winner) were two of the three Naruto beya recruits to contest the Jonokuchi playoff in an intra-heya battle last time out. The third, Sakurai, is not in business on Day 1. Both of them get veterans who more or less live at this level.

Sandanme

Wakaichiro (Sd67) vs Fujitaisei (Sd67) – Wakaichiro fans will cheer him on from his highest banzuke appearance to date. Curiously he gets an opponent who was recruited into the original Musashigawa stable before Musashimaru branched off the current version (hat tip to Asashosakari for the catch). American fans will want to note that Wakaichiro’s stablemate Musashikuni is listed as kyujo from the basho, so he’ll be the sole American representative from Musashigawa at least to start the tournament.

Tokisakae (Sd44) vs Oyamatoumi (Sd43) – Jonidan yusho winner Tokisakae makes his Sandanme bow in this match, and the former university man should be expected to plough through the division again this time out before facing tougher scrutiny in November.

Yoshoyama (Sd17) vs Hisanotora (Sd17) – The 21 year old Mongolian Yoshoyama, who entered with some degree of fanfare a couple years back, has made very slow and steady progress, but the wheels came off in his last tournament when he made his Makushita debut. He’ll be looking to right the ship.

Makushita

Ayanoumi (Ms47) vs Chiyonokuni (Ms46) – The feisty man from Mie, Chiyonokuni makes his return to the dohyo, and will attempt to kickstart his career from Makushita 46. Here’s hoping he can follow the path trodden by the likes of Tochinoshin and vault himself back to even higher successes.

Shiraishi (Ms42) vs Okinofuji (Ms42) – Hot prospect and former Sandanme Tsukedashi man Shiraishi will look to follow up last tournament’s 5-2 with a second strong appearance in the third tier. He takes on a long time Makushita veteran, and no prizes for guessing he might be a stablemate of Okinoumi and Hokutofuji at Hakkaku beya.

Wakatakamoto (Ms22) vs Hatooka (Ms22) – It really would be lovely to get all 3 Onami brothers up towards the sekitori ranks, especially with Arashio oyakata set to yield the stable early next year to Sokokurai. 27 year old Wakatakamoto seems to take a step back for every step forward, so a first win here would be good progress.

Chiyoarashi (Ms18) vs Hakuyozan (Ms17) – Hakuyozan had a promising start to his sekitori career before being derailed by injury, and then had a horror show in the last basho upon his return. He needs to stop the rot in this tournament otherwise he may be facing a very difficult journey back.

Naya (Ms10) vs Toyohibiki (Ms10) – Another decent bellwether for the up and coming top talent, Naya faces longtime top division man Toyohibiki as he gets his Aki basho underway.

Midorifuji (Ms4) vs Kototebakari (Ms4) – A classic big vs small match as two very promising, perhaps second tier prospects face off on Day 1, with promotion very much a realistic possibility with a good result in this basho.