Sometimes events that one never thinks could ever happen, actually do. Two Yokozuna out injured. One ozeki out injured. One ozeki will be demoted. Another kadoban. What do we have left? If all goes well, a looming senshuraku battle between the greatest yokozuna ever and likely the greatest virgin ozeki ever. Kisenosato benefited from the freebie win with Goeido’s departure. Tomorrow he will face Ichinojo, who clearly has the ability to win at the highest levels.
The thing is, the bout with Ichinojo almost doesn’t matter. If Hakuho beats Takanoiwa, Kisenosato MUST beat Hakuho to finally win his first yusho. The champ beat Kotoshogiku today, and I’m tempted to leave it there but Giku did show spirit though his legs are failing him. The bout with Ichinojo only matters if Kisenosato wants to leave himself the luxury of a do-over if he loses to Hakuho in the first go. With both Takanoiwa and Ichinojo losing, Hakuho is alone in second place.
Endo surprised Terunofuji with a perfectly executed half-henka. Terunofuji lacked any ability to slow down or move laterally, leaving Endo one win from a winning record and certain advancement up the banzuke in March. Tamawashi secured a winning record and caught out Ikioi, who seemed a bit tired from his last few bouts while Okinoumi woke up to stun everyone, especially Shodai. Shodai is now makekoshi, making room at Sekiwake for Kotoshogiku.
Takanoiwa lost in today’s most spirited bout against Takayasu. I think Takayasu wants to make a solid case for having three sekiwake in March. That was the match of the day in makuuchi. Many of the earlier bouts featured wrestlers nursing injuries or just weary after two weeks of battle. Takekaze lost the previous bout when Takarafuji anticipated the change of direction and easily pushed the geezer out. The bout before that had a clearly tired Mitakeumi falling to the gung-ho Sokokurai.
3 thoughts on “Hatsu 2017, Day 13: Trump Takes Over”
One more win and Takayasu re-starts his Ozeki run, which I think will be outstanding. The Takanoiwa bout just kept escolating the slapping and pushing, until Takanoiwa went to to the mawashi. The toss Takayasu gave him was impressive, and Takanoiwa looked really disgusted at the outcome. If Kisenosato can actually overcome and win this thing, I will always think his relentless sparring partner, Takayasu, played a significant role.
It was heartbreaking to watch Kotoshogiku today. He still has the heart and the fighting spirit, but his body is spent. The relentless sumo schedule of basho and jungyo leaves little or not time for medical treatment or recovery. This basho it was easy to see the array of talent that just don’t have the health to compete against young, strong rikishi whose bodies are still sound. While it would be a wonderful comeback story for Kotoshogiku to re-take his Ozeki rank, short of a significant rebuild at a hospital, his body won’t support his desires.
I forgot about the ozeki run by Tamawashi. He can get another 10 wins here, the third basho in a row. Tamawashi is in the midst of a quality ozeki run and I’m sure would get the rank if he picks up 13 wins next basho.
I’ve been very impressed with Takayasu so I’m looking forward to an ozeki run. I hope he can keep it up.