Entering the final stretch, Hakuho takes the lead! The superzuna claimed sole posession of the lead by throwing Kotoshogiku after a decent belt battle. In the match before, the first yokozuna battle of the tournament, Harumafuji was able to secure a belt hold on Kakuryu, get a lower position and use that leverage to push Kakuryu out.
Kakuryu is alone chasing Hakuho now because Tochinoshin had lost to Ichinojo in a great belt battle. Though he may fall out of the hunt for this title, Ichinojo v. Tochinoshin could definitely become an epic rivalry. Tochinoshin is one of the few wrestlers with the size and strength to match Ichinojo, which he’s proven with two victories in their previous meetings. There were a few points in this match where it looked like Tochinoshin might actually be able to lift the Mongolian new comer out of the ring. I’m excited to see where their careers take them and how this rivalry grows.
Looking to tomorrow’s matches, key will be the next yokozuna matchup: Hakuho v. Harumafuji. Since May 2012, Hakuho/Harumafuji has been the key Day 15 yokozuna battle to close the tournament. This time their battle will be on Day 14 but Harumafuji has a chance to really shake up the weekend. He’s lost their last two matches but the last time he lost more than two in a row was back in 2011. Harumafuji actually leads their rivalry in the four years since with 10 wins to Hakuho’s 9. However, if we look at the more recent record, Hakuho leads 6-4 since Harumafuji was promoted to yokozuna. In the previous 12 months, they’re tied with two wins each. It’s certainly the match to watch tomorrow.
This tournament will likely come down to a Hakuho/Kakuryu battle on Day 15 but it will certainly be more interesting if they’ve level records. For that to happen, not only does Harumafuji need to win tomorrow but Kakuryu needs to win against Kotoshogiku which is definitely a challenge. The two have a very competitive rivalry but Kakuryu does have the edge with four wins in five matches this year.
Kisenosato and Tochinoshin can keep things interesting Sunday if they win tomorrow. Both will face challenging battles. It will be Kisenosato’s turn to battle Ichinojo and Tochinoshin faces Myogiryu, who has rather quietly garnered 9 wins.
3: Harumafuji, Kisenosato, Tochinoshin