Today featured quite a few thrilling bouts, punctuated by Hakuho vs. Okinoumi. Throughout the bout, winless Okinoumi looked to be giving the yokozuna a run for his money. As he began to push Hakuho to the edge, he gave a huge shove to force the pair out. But in a brilliant counter at the last second, Hakuho grabbed Okinoumi, pivoted mid-air, and body slammed Okinoumi.
Enjoy the video from Kintamayama….
For me, the ranks between Komusubi and Maegashira 2 are the real rough ranks – the “hot seat,” so to speak. Those wrestlers get blasted during the first week, facing ozeki/yokozuna-heavy bouts. Sekiwake gets a bit easier in the first week but to progress to ozeki, you need such a great record and you have to display some consistency. It’s worth it because a bad tournament at ozeki won’t automatically cost the wrester their rank. If they get all the way to yokozuna, there is no demotion – just retirement.
So far, the only one with a winning record in these “hot seat” ranks is Yoshikaze, even if extended to sekiwake and M3. Losing records basically guarantee demotion by at least a rank, even lower depending on how bad. If these sub-.500 records hold for the rest, Yoshikaze will be looking at advancement to sekiwake and Ikioi would likely be jumping way up into sanyaku.
This is unlikely to hold, however, because the their load will lighten significantly after tomorrow, so those with 3 or even two wins are still well within striking distance of kachi-koshi records. Tochinoshin and Toyonoshima are thus in great shape, even with just three wins. Toyonoshima beat both sekiwake and Tochinoshin brought down two ozeki and a sekiwake. They get to face yokozuna Kakuryu and Harumafuji, tomorrow. If either Tochinoshin or Toyonoshima can get the upset, they’ll be in a great place for a strong finish and even special prizes.