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SUMO: Haru Basho 2016 (Day 3)

As Day 3 dawns on the Haru Basho, things are looking very interesting. All four of the ozeki are looking strong and so are all three yokozuna (despite two of them having opening day losses). Plus, all seven of them have challenging Day 3 matches.

It all begins at 7:40 on the video and runs straight through the end. In order the matches are:

Sekiwake Toyonoshima vs. ozeki Kisenosato—Toyonoshima beat yokozuna Kakuryu on Day 1 and looked strong and sharp in his loss to M1 Tochinoshin on Day 2. Meanwhile, Kisenosato has had to work harder than he ought to have in getting his wins against M1 Kotoyuki and komusubi Takarfuji. This one seems like a toss-up to me.

Ozeki Kotoshogiku vs. M2 Tochinoshin—Kotoshogiku is showing the same focus and drive as he did in January. The question at this point is whether he can keep it going throughout the tournament, particularly when faced with big, powerful opponents. And Tochinoshin is among the biggest and most powerful. I’m rooting for Tochinoshin, but if Kotoshogiku IS for real then he’ll find a way to win this one.

Komusubi Tochiozan vs. ozeki Terunofuji—Terunofuji is back from his injuries and his body is looking strong. However, in the first couple of days he hasn’t looked quite as sharp as he did last fall. He probably just needs to get his “basho face” on, but in the meanwhile he’s in the most danger when facing smart and tricky opponents . . . like Tochiozan. This will be a test for whether Terunofuji will have a relatively easy time making his kachikoshi (majority of wins) to avoid ozeki demotion, and whether he’s ready to really contend for a yusho [tournament championship] again.

Ozeki Goeido vs. sekiwake Yoshikaze—Goeido is the weakest of the ozeki, but he’s looked really strong so far this basho. Then again, he always does well in Osaka as it’s his hometown. He’s kadoban [threatened with ozeki demotion] and he KNOWS he’s going to be on the short end in the final five days (when he’s facing yokozuna and fellow ozeki) so he’s got to get his eight wins QUICKLY.  Worst of all, he has never beaten Yoshikaze before (though they’ve only fought three times previously). I’m going with Yoshikaze in this one.

M1 Takayasu vs. yokozuna Hakuho—Hakuho remains one of the biggest question marks not just of this basho but in the overall state of sumo these days. It’s clear that whether because of injury, age, or sheer boredom, he’s not the unstoppable force he has been for the last seven-plus years . . . but he is still pretty much the best in the sport overall, and on MOST days can utterly dominate just about ANY opponent. It’s just that days like Day 1 come along every once in awhile when he just doesn’t seem to have the magic. He should make quick work of Takayasu, but then again the SAME would have been said about Takarafuji on Sunday.

Yokozuna Harumafuji vs. M1 Kotoyuki—Of all the upper matches, this is the weakest on paper. Harumafuji is looking as strong as ever, and Kotoyuki has never been ranked this high before, so this is the toughest schedule he’s ever faced. He didn’t put up much of a fight against Hakuho yesterday, and I think Harumafuji will beat him just as handily today.

Yokozuna Kakuryu vs. M2 Okinoumi—Despite the fact that Okinoumi has lost his first two matches, he’s looked sharp. Technically, as a yokozuna, Kakuryu should beat him as a matter of course, but as you may remember I’ve predicted that Kakuryu is going to retire before the year is out. If he’s going to prove me wrong, he’s got to remain dominant over the up-and-comers like Okinoumi.

One ADDITIONAL match (of importance to me only) is the very first one on the video.

M16 Akiseyama vs. J1 Osunaarashi—Egyptian rikishi Osunaarashi, who fell to the Juryo division after an injury-plagued last few tournaments, is up for a day to fill in because further up the banzuke M4 Sokokurai is out with the flu. Osunaarashi won his first two Juryo bouts, but I didn’t get to see them . . . this will be my first chance to see how his knees are doing, and if he’s as dominant as he really SHOULD be fighting at this level.

3 Comments

  1. Andy wrote:

    I am excited for the surprise Osunaarashi appearance. I’ve been wondering if anyone is putting up juryo matches: I’d love to see him tear through them.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  2. Stan! wrote:

    Having looked online, I can find this vid of Osunaarashi’s Day 2 Juryo bout against Nishigiki. But so far I haven’t found any footage of his Day 1 fight against Seiro.

    https://youtu.be/6L7bSJxrKl0

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink
  3. Andy wrote:

    Cool, thanks!

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

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