The Undefeateds Win, Takayasu’s Ozeki Run On Life Support
Kakuryu, Hakuho, Goeido and Sokokurai all won their matches today, with the lead group now at 5-0. In the midst of all of this, there is a clear difference to how each of them is achieving that mark. Kakuryu seems to be really working for his wins, and at the moment is the strongest rikishi in the tournament. Hakuho is winning by pull downs, so we have yet to see him really go toe to toe with anyone of merit. The question remains if he is fighting fit after surgery and recovery. Goeido was a hot mess today, but managed a win anyhow. Today was the first time this basho that I saw a hint of the old, bad Goeido. If he wants to continue his drive, he needs to lock in and focus on his sumo.
Takayasu lost to Tamawashi, and as a result his promotion efforts are done with the next loss. Given the strength of the Yokozuna ranks, Takayasu needs to rack up wins and focus on January. This attempt is done, short of a miracle.
One more note on Goeido, if the traditional scheduling holds for the final day, the highest ranking Ozeki (Goeido) will face the lowest ranking Yokozuna (Hakuho). Start preparing for that now.
Juryo Note – Oosunaarashi also undefeated at 5-0!
Ishiura defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo looked terrible today, and Ishiura threw him at the edge of the tawara. This guy has talent, power and speed. I expect him to get harder matches starting tomorrow
Chiyootori defeats Gagamaru – Chiyootori put a lot of effort into an extended hug-n-chug against planet Gagamaru, but lacked the strength one the Gagamaru had his heels on the bales. Chiyootori finally had to lift him over for the win, no easy feat against one of the largest men in sumo.
Sokokurai defeats Kyokushuho – Granted, Kyokushuho is pretty banged up, but Sokokurai as Maegashira 14 takes every win, every way he can. After a string of losing tournaments, he is showing promise.
Ikioi defeats Takarafuji – Ikioi delivered a massive knock on the tachiai, and Takarafuji was never able to regain his balance – out he goes! At 4-1 Ikioi is doing better than he has in quite some time, and he is not facing easy foes.
Shodai defeats Nishikigi – No slowing down for Shodai, he is racking up the wins before the schedule give him over to the Ozeki later. He made quick work of Nishikigi
Tamawashi defeats Takayasu – Takayasu had concerns just before Kyushu, and did not look strong in his pre-tournament test matches. It would seem that he has lost a bit of his edge, and we hope that he is not nursing an injury, too. For now his Ozeki run is likely done, but he remains the leading candidate for the next spot.
Kisenosato defeats Kaisei – Typically you don’t see Kisenosato win moving backwards, but today he used an Uwatedashinage against the hapless Kaisei
Goeido defeats Aoiyama – Very messy bout, but Goeido held on to win. Aoiyama made it tough for the aspiring Yokozuna, which should give fans concerns about his upper level matches next week.
Harumafuji defeats Endo – Endo gets Harumafuji’s famous Darth Vader treatment. Endo benefits from the education, and is still on track (my opinion) for Sanyaku
Hakuho defeats Tochiozan – Hakuho keeps winning by pull downs. To me this means he’s still mostly untested in his ability to actually grapple and move. Hopefully soon
Kakuryu defeats Okinoumi – Kakuryu made quick work of the damaged Okinoumi, Kakuryu is in winning form this tournament, and I even think he will take apart Harumafuji and Hakuho. I am starting to think Kakuryu may take the Yusho (too early to put much thought into it!)