The Undefeated Ranks Decimated
The starting day of act 2 brought losses to the three lower ranking undefeated rikishi. Sokokurai, Takanoiwa and Sadanoumi all lost their bouts, and went to 4-1. Further up the banzuke Ishiura finally managed a second win against Nishikigi, when Ishiura was able to side step a pushing attack at the edge, sending Nishikigi over the bales. As reported earlier, Tochinoshin went kyujo, handing Takayasu a free win.
In Ozeki ranks, the situation is growing more dire. While Kisenosato is operating at his best level in at least 6 months, the other 3 Ozeki are struggling. The first week of the basho is considered “easy” for the Ozeki, as they fight the lower ranks. The second week is usually a sanyaku round-robin, where the Ozeki all face each other in the final days. In this easier week, we see both Kotoshogiku and Terunofuji are now at 2-4. To achieve their kachi-koshi, each would have to win 6 of their remaining 9 bouts. Put another way, each man can only lose 3 more times. Mathematically possible, but hugely unlikely given their performance. This means we will see Kotoshogiku stripped of his Ozeki rank, one year after wining the 2016 Hatsu basho. Terunofuji would go back to Kadoban, but short of some medical intervention, there is little chance he will improve.
Surprisingly, the Yokozuna ranks are also in some trouble. Hakuho seems to be back in fighting form, or at least together enough that he completely dominates his matches. Kakuryu seems to have lost his sumo, and is being picked apart by rank and file rikishi. Today it was winless Maegashira 2 Arawashi. Harumafuji showed up with a new, massive wrap on his right thigh. If that were not enough, his match against Tamawashi ended in a rather brutal fall which may have injured both sumotori.
Lastly, congratulations to Yokozuna Hakuho for tying the record for most appearances as a Yokozuna, held by Kitanoumi