“Revenge of the Tadpoles” or “Regression to the Mean”

A quick and incomplete Day 4 wrap-up. Things really heated up today!

As expected, Kakuryu made quick work of winless Arawashi. The Yokozuna stayed undefeated, and should have another easy day at the office tomorrow against also-winless Takarafuji, who lost today to the previously-winless Komusubi Chiyotairyu. Kakuryu has dominated the career series 12-1.

Endo (3-1) continued his strong basho, observing Goeido (2-2) well and pulling him down within a second of the tachiai. The hometown-favorite Ozeki seems to lack focus. Takayasu and Tamawashi rained heavyweight slaps on each other, with the Ozeki delivering the knockout blows.

Now on to the title of this post. Ichinojo is not as dominant as he looked in the first three days, and at times at Hatsu (at least not yet). Tochinoshin had several matches at Hatsu that could have gone either way, and all broke in his favor. Today, these rikishi ran into motivated tadpole opponents. Mitakeumi (3-1) got in low at the tachiai, pushed forward strongly, and after overcoming the initial resistance, managed to move the boulder back and over the tawara, handing Ichinojo his first loss. Takakeisho broke Tochinoshin’s initial left-hand grip on his mawashi and turned the bout into a frantic running battle, which gave him a chance. Takakeisho could daily have gone down or out on multiple occasions, but in the end the Sekiwake fell first.

Tomorrow, Takayasu takes on Kotoshogiku. The career record is deceptively even at 12-11, but the current Ozeki has won the last 9 over the former one. Goeido faces off with Takakeisho, who memorably defeated the Ozeki once (in four tries) back in September. Mitakeumi battles Tamawashi and Tochinoshin goes up against Chiyotairyu in the daily intra-sanyaku bout.

Perhaps the most intriguing bout is the bulk vs. skill matchup of Ichinojo vs. Endo. The two don’t have much history, splitting four bouts, with the most recent taking place exactly a year ago, on Day 5 of Haru 2017 (Endo got a moro-zashi grip and won a spirited bout by yorikiri).