Well, this yusho has been totally thrown on its head. As Bruce reported, Kise is down and likely out. We’ll get to the implications later but there was also a lot more action to cover. This tight race with Tochiozan and Takayasu has become decidedly less tight as both wrestlers fell today, leaving Terunofuji alone (presumably) in the lead by two bouts.
Would someone please return Terunofuji’s lunch money? He’s a new man as his knees seem to be holding up. Today, he demonstrated Championship level sumo against Yokozuna Kakuryu. Both wrestlers locked up quickly with two-handed belt grips. While the bout was closely contested, Terunofuji was never in any real danger, even as Kakuryu tried desperately to trip the big lug, kicking at those apparently-not-so-tender knees. Eventually, Terunofuji’s height advantage and leverage meant his atomic wedgie was superior…lifting Kakuryu over the straw bales.
Thus, with a two bout lead over his closest competitors, Terunofuji will seal the deal on his second yusho with a win tomorrow over Kotoshogiku. Kotoshogiku was able to finally get his kachi-koshi with a powerful tachiai and quick force-out victory over Shodai. Shodai will tumble into the rank-and-filers with nine or more losses now. His ozeki dreams are on hold. Mitakeumi, on the other hand, is keeping his sanyaku ambition alive after beating the ever-feisty Sokokurai. He’ll face Chiyonokuni in a tough match for a winning record. Sekiwake rank will be crowded if Giku fails to regain his Ozeki rank. Three Sekiwake in May with Mitakeumi held at Komusubi with 8 or even 9 wins?
Takayasu’s ozeki dreams are coming undone, as well. He really needed 11 or 12 wins this tournament and has not been in good form the past few days. He has been slow to get up after both defeats. Yoshikaze shoved him from the ring today after a frantic bout. Takayasu did not demonstrate the clear control and command he had in the first two thirds of this tournament. Likewise, Tochi-from-Kochi let Endo control the pace and position of their fight. Endo pushed, keeping Tochiozan on the defensive and eventually shoved him over the bales.
Tochinoshin wants to win and it showed against Kagayaki. He’s battling a bit below his abilities because of his injury but may still pull off a winning record. Likewise, Okinoumi has shown some life lately, picking up his eighth win against Ishiura. He’ll climb back up the banzuke, unlike Myogiryu. I’m worried about him. He’s got 6 wins this tournament so far but with the loss to Juryo-ranked Onosho. He will need to pull out all of the stops and win out in order to get a winning record and arrest his slide down the banzuke (possibly into Juryo).