Hakuho Alone in Lead; Terunofuji, Kaisei, Ikioi Chase

The leadership field was cut in half today with Kaisei losing to Goeido in his first big test. My last post was about how Goeido came to the rescue to keep the tournament interesting…today he takes out the only other competitor tied for the lead. Hakuho stepped up and beat Kotoshogiku. He’ll have Kisenosato and Harumafuji to close out the tournament. He “controls his own destiny,” so if he wins out – he wins the tournament. If anyone else is going to win, not only will Terunofuji, Kaisai, or Ikioi need to win all of their matches, they’ll need help as Kisenosato or Harumafuji will have to hand the yokozuna his 3rd loss.

The last time he had three losses was last spring when Kakuryu won. In the Hakuho era, it does seem like 3 losses is only ever good for second place, as it should be. This would have been a golden opportunity for Kisenosato to step up and claim a yusho but his hopes were dashed in a hatakikomi loss to Harumafuji. Harumafuji was probably super motivated today because he’ll face desperate Kotoshogiku tomorrow and a motivated Hakuho on Sunday.

As for the three other title-chasers, they’ve got their work cut out. Terunofuji will face Myogiryu tomorrow while Ikioi will go head-to-head against Ichinojo and Kaisei will face Tochinoshin. Ikioi handed Ichinojo his first defeat in the Mongolian’s impressive debut tournament. Kaisei and Tochinoshin surprisingly have a fairly even record. If Kaisei wins, they’ll be tied 6-6 in their rivalry. Kaisei’s no stranger to the sanyaku and he may find himself back up there if Myogiryu, Ichinojo, and Tochiozan can’t pick up wins! More likely he’ll be M1 or M2 next tournament but a jun-yusho may get him into a komusubi slot.

Amuru finally picked up his kachi-koshi, along with Goeido. Let’s see if Goeido can pick up 10 wins!