Hakuho Kyujo, Kisenosato Undefeated
The first act of Haru is complete. At this point all rikishi should be warmed up, on their sumo and in the optimum form. During the middle third of the basho is when we find out who will have a chance at yusho, and who is been competing hurt.
This big news from day 5 is that Hakuho withdrew from competition on day 5, citing an injury to the big toe of his right foot. This is the same foot that was the subject of surgery in September of 2016, and it’s re-injury is an ominous sign for the Boss’s long-term viability. It was clear that something was wrong form day 2, but like most rikishi, Hakuho was trying to continue in spite of the pain and discomfort. This gave Mitakeumi a fusen win.
The rest of the Yokozuna corps won their matches, with Ikioi putting in a nice effort against Kisenosato, who is looking amazingly untouchable. The same cannot be said for Goeido who is on the Kadoban express after Takekaze dropped him.
Shodai offered little against Takayasu, who has clearly benefited from the non-stop “fight club” with Kisenosato since January. Both Tagonoura rikishi are unbeaten, and every match is smooth, confident, strong and in-control. Then there is Terunofuji, who is fighting like he really means it this time. We have not seen this aspect of him in a while. His matches are like some vengeful hero turned loose to reclaim his stolen valor.
The Kotoshogiku revival train missed a stop today, when Tamawashi was able to resist the one good leg power attack. It’s possible that now we have entered the middle act of Haru, everyone is warmed up, they have been watching the tapes, and they know how to circumvent Kotoshogiku’s modified attack forms.
Takarafuji will not be stopped, at least not any time soon. This is the best performance from Harumafuji’s stable mate that I can recall watching, and he is certainly cleaning up against any and all opponents. The same can be said about Tochiozan, who has had a string of lack-luster tournaments. Today Tochiozan dealt Chiyoshoma his first loss, and looked very much in control for the brief time the match lasted.
Endo handily defeated Ichinojo, who has been on a hot streak since the first of the year. Endo had Ichinojo’s excess height and weight to overcome, but his skill and technique carried the day. Endo has a lot of promise still, but his consistency has suffered greatly.
If you want to watch two rikishi really go after each other today, catch the Daieisho win over Takakeisho.
Late word from the NSK seems to indicate that we will see Kaisei return in the next few days, hopefully in working order and ready for battle. Readers will recall that his injury came in a practice bout with Hakuho, who is now himself out with injury.