Kisenosato Undefeated, Sole Leader
There was a generous amount of fantastic sumo action from Day 11, but chief in terms of the yusho race was Kakuryu’s victory over Takayasu, in a hard fought and highly mobile battle. After a strong tachiai, the combatants alternated between thrusting attacks and grappling. Each tried to position the other for throws multiple times, and as is the usual Kakuryu tactic, he played for time rather than overpowering win, waiting for Takayasu to make a mistake. He got his mistake when Takayasu pressed hard to circle right and created momentum for Kakuryu to boost and send him off the edge of the dohyo.
It was fantastic sumo, and it’s the kind of sumo you would expect to see from an Ozeki, which I can only assume will be Takayasu’s title later this year. Now we see if Takayasu is ready to be a champion. In past basho when he was handed a disappointing loss, Takayasu has gone into a losing streak. He faces Harumafuji on day 12, which may be an even greater challenge than Kakuryu.
This leaves Kisenosato the sole leader in the yusho race, and make no mistake that getting him at least one loss is a priority for the schedulers. It will come down to his fellow Yokozuna to achieve that goal, at which point the yusho race could be expanded in the final days.