So as not to spoil the winner for those who may be following on Twitter, I’m not going to give things away in the headlines. There are many big story lines to come out of today’s bouts and this month’s basho. The most important one to me is the yusho winner and I imagine not everyone had a chance to watch live or has seen the replays yet. To find out the yusho winner, click below:
Basically, this boils down to two men now. Yokozuna Kakuryu is now in the lead with two losses while the injured Terunofuji has three losses. Terunofuji would need to beat Kakuryu twice tomorrow to pick up the yusho. Unfortunately, that seems increasingly remote after the way his knee was unable to stave off Goeido. Further, Kakuryu attempted two henka against Kisenosato, demonstrating exactly how desperate he is to get his second yusho. Kisenosato recovered well from the likely utter shock that a yokozuna would do something that shameless. He was able to recover, barely, at the edge and drive Kakuryu to the other side of the dohyo. The joke-ozuna was able to plant, pivot, and let the ozeki’s own momentum carry him off the dohyo.
Ikioi was also eliminated from contention today at the hands of Kotoshogiku. He clearly had a strategy that could have worked, letting Kotoshogiku belly flop on the edge, but he ran out of real estate before Giku flopped.
Our leadership field doubled overnight. Terunofuji’s loss to Kisenosato opens up the tournament, building drama for the climactic final weekend – if Terunofuji is not injured. His knee seemed to give way when he tried to tip Kisenosato over in a close, back-and-forth bout.
He was able to get up quickly and walk away so I’m hopeful he’ll be close to 100% tomorrow when he faces a desperate Goeido, who needs a win to avoid going kadoban. Terunofuji still leads but shares that lead now with Kakuryu. Kakuryu obliterated an over-zealous Goeido today. Kakuryu will face Kisenosato tomorrow. Kisenosato has the edge in their rivalry, with three straight victories over the junior-zuna.
In light of Tochiozan’s upset of Terunofuji, I thought I would put in a quick plug for Kochi, his home prefecture. I have not been to his actual home town but I visited Kochi city with my family and a friend and we took the Anpanman train to Shimanto-gawa (Shimanto river). It’s an amazing place. The people we met were really friendly. Kochi is the source for a lot of yuzu and is famous for a particular fish dish called katsuo no tataki. We ate it at a really good restaurant, and we were invited to the house of a friend of a friend for dinner so we had it there, too. I’m no connoisseur of fish but it was good – I can tell salmon from tuna (raw or cooked) but when it comes to white fish, I’m lost. Aji might as well be catfish. It’s all good, whether baked or fried. When it comes to yuzu, though, that is about as distinctive of a flavor as you can get. It’s a citrus but it’s not an orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit. It’s just different.
There will be no zensho yusho. Tochiozan defeated Terunofuji, and got to visit the interview room. Terunofuji tried for an early throw but Tochiozan was able to keep his balance and used his superior leverage and position to counter, backing the ozeki out of the dohyo. Terunofuji will have to regroup quickly as he’ll face Kisenosato tomorrow. It’s a great time for Tochiozan to get his first win over Terunofuji. This win improves his chances of a winning record immensely and helps prove he’s not just overpriced yuzu. He’ll face Aminishiki tomorrow with both going for their kachi-koshi. Hopefully he won’t let the geezer get him with the henka like Kakuryu yesterday.
Ikioi (10-2) fell to Yoshikaze, who picked up kachi-koshi and likely a special prize. The two have a fairly even rivalry but today’s match was decidedly one-sided. Strong thrusts from Yoshikaze, including a really disruptive one to Ikioi’s throat, got Ikioi moving backwards. As he ran out of real estate, he seemed to lose where he was on the dohyo and stepped out. Tomorrow, Ikioi will face a surging Tochinoshin. Tochinoshin used the same strategy as Yoshikaze. He battered Tamawashi with aggressive thrusts, getting him to move backwards. But rather than step out, Tamawashi used the bales to get some purchase to resist. Tochinoshin’s raw strength proved decisive as he just picked Tamawashi up and plopped him over the bales. He can pick up Ichinojo’s dead weight. Ikioi will need to bring something more as Tochinoshin will also be up for his kachi-koshi.