Needs To Win 3 of Remaining 4
Kotoshogiku has been hit-or-miss since his stunning yusho in January 2016. Some tournaments he’s strong and dominant, others he is clearly in pain, injured and just can’t make his sumo work. At the end of the January tournament in 2017, he failed to clear his kadoban status and was demoted to Sekiwake, with a single chance of returning to Ozeki – if he scored 10 wins in the following basho.
The Tachiai crew agreed, this was a hard road, and might require some rikishi doing “favors” for the big bulldozer from Kyushu. But then Haru started, and it was clear that Kotoshogiku was in fighting form. He has been winning, using his sumo, against foes who are putting out full effort.
Ikioi is a fine sumotori with a solid future in Makuuchi, but he has had a terrible basho. In fact, he is already deep in make-koshi by day 10 shows just how poorly he has been doing at Maegashira 1. But somehow he found his sumo on day 11, and bested Kotoshogiku, in what was probably expected by most to be win #8 for the struggling former Ozeki.
Kotoshogiku was unable to lock up Ikioi for a Hug-n-Chug win, but instead, Ikioi kept mobile and slapped down Kotoshogiku when his balance went too far forward.
With today’s loss, Kotoshogiku can only lose 1 more bout and still regain his Ozeki title. Everyone loves a comeback story, especially when the hero is a nice guy that people like. But Kotoshogiku’s comeback story now hangs by a thread.