Hatsu Torikumi Released: Kisenosato Will Start

The NSK released the schedule for the opening two days of the upcoming tournament. Among the storylines, the headline is that Kisenosato is scheduled to compete. Out of the gate he will tackle two top tadpoles, Takakeisho and Hokutofuji. In truth, the entire yokozuna triumvirate will have their hands full. In his do-or-die hatsu, Kakuryu starts off with the reverse schedule, Hokutofuji followed by Takakeisho. Meanwhile, Hakuho begins with Onosho and then faces a hopefully resurgent Ichinojo on Day 2.

I’m excited to see Ichinojo back in the joi, starting with his first bout against Goeido. He had a premature taste last tournament from M4 as the depleted sanyaku ranks, with five unable to finish, meant he faced seven top tier opponents including Yokozuna and Ozeki. Without such injuries, M4 would likely face a couple of lower sanyaku opponents. Ichinojo held his own, beating Goeido, Mitakeumi, and Yoshikaze and finishing with 10 wins overall. A similar record this tournament will not only catapult him into san’yaku but could kick off an Ozeki run.

Kotoshogiku, the former ozeki, will prove to be an interesting test for Mitakeumi and Takayasu. Both are coming off injuries and may be ripe for an upset. The senior rikishi from Sadogatake is clearly driven. He wants to be back among the top ranks, even though he’s no longer on anyone’s short list for yusho contention. There were a few bouts in the last tournament where it looked like his sumo was developing beyond the humpity-bumpity. He still finds yorikiri and oshidashi wins, somehow. But if he starts picking up -nage wins, he could arrest his slide down the banzuke. The top ranks are a mix of banged-up geezers and green upstarts. It’s time to use some wiles.

Terunofuji will face Chiyomaru for the first time in four years. After two years in Juryo, Chiyomaru has apparently finally been cast in a recurring role among the lower maegashira and should serve as a decent early test of those knees. Is Terunofuji headed for Juryo or can he recover after a prolonged period of lower-ranked competition? On Day 2 he’ll face the one-time high-flying Kotoyuki, who’s coming off his own recovery in the lower ranks. If Kotoyuki has recovered, he may flip-flop with Kotoshogiku as top at Sadogatake. His tournament will start against Uncle Sumo Aminishiki.

I’m likely alone in my early picks but my Bout of the Day for Day 1 is Goeido v Ichinojo. This early bout should set the tone for both men’s basho. Will Goeido be in contention and will the Monster show up? As an optimist, I’m hoping for “Yes.” My pick for Day 2 is Tamawashi v Yoshikaze. One hopes to start an Ozeki run, the other just always brings it. “There Will Be Blood.”

Aki Basho Day 1&2 Matches Published

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As expected, once Hakuho decided if he was in or out, the NSK published the torikumi (match schedule) for the first two days. It features some of the battles from my guess list, and some from the comments section. As always, Tachiai will do day-before previews and day of commentary starting Saturday US.

With the Aki basho just around the corner, we find ourselves in a strange situation where 3 out of 4 Yokozuna are sitting out a tournament. I am sure one of the wise statistics gurus will report how many years it’s been since something like this has happened (or this could be the first ever).

So this basho will be all about the up-and-coming wave of rikishi coming into their own. They still have Harumafuji and a swarm of Ozeki to battle, but in general this will be their turn to shine.

Nagoya Day 1 & 2 Torikumi Published!

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Intense Action Early.

The roster of matches for day 1 and 2 have been published on the Nippon Sumo Kyokai web site earlier today, and it is available for sumo fans to review here.

Taachiai will cover our in more detail during our wall to wall daily coverage, but starting out I am excited to see Takayasu vs Hokutofuji, and the crazy match of the day: Terunofuji vs Takakeisho. I sure hope the kaiju is not hungry on Sunday…

Natsu Day 1 & 2 Torikumi is Live!

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First Two Days Should Be Thrilling

The matches for the top divisions for the first two days of the Natsu basho are on the Nippon Sumo Kyokai website. Readers are encouraged to look them over.

Things get exciting right out of the gate with Yoshikaze matching against Yokozuna Kisenosato, and Yokozuna Hakuho facing off against rising star Chiyonokuni.

With myself now firmly located in Sumedia, just 3 blocks south of the Kokugikan, I will be working to bring you as much sumo action and ambiance as possible. Just about 24 hours now to the start of Natsu!

Haru Day 1 Torikumi Is Posted!

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First Day Matches Start The Basho Right

You can see them yourself here!

Things that catch my eye right away:

  • Ura faces Sadanoumi in an early test of Ura’s resolve
  • Ichinojo vs Aoiyama in a battle of the giants.
  • Takayasu faces Shohozan in a brawl of Kisenosato’s retainers
  • Demon Slayer Takanoiwa challenges Tamawashi
  • Kisenosato has to overcome henka king Takekaze
  • Kotoshogiku’s first test is against Harumafuji

Tachiai’s wall to wall coverage starts now!