Headliner, musubi no ichiban: Takakeisho (7-1) vs. Tochinoshin (4-4). At stake, among other things, are Takakeisho’s lead in the yusho race and a chance to move his record into winning territory for the Ozeki. Surprisingly the young Komusubi has owned Tochinoshin, winning 4 of their 5 meetings, including the last two.
Both of the other Ozeki, if they are to keep pace in the yusho race, must overcome rank-and-file opponents who are far from pushovers. Takayasu (6-2) takes on Yoshikaze (4-4), with the career series even at 10-10. Likewise, Chiyotairyu (5-3) has given Goeido (5-3) all he can handle, taking 6 of their 12 previous bouts.
In the rest of the sanyaku bouts, Mitakeumi (5-3) faces Ryuden (2-6) for the first time, and would do well to keep him away from his mawashi. Ichinojo (2-6) badly needs a victory against Shodai (4-4), whom he’s beaten in 6 of their 8 prior meetings, including 4 in a row (fun fact: the two have met in every basho this year). Finally, Tochiozan (6-2) takes on on Kaisei (2-4-2), whom he’s dominated to the tune of an 11-4 record.
In other matches that have implications for the yusho race, the two M1’s face off when Myogiryu (4-4) battles Hokutofuji (5-3); the winner of this bout will also improve his position in the sanyaku promotion queue. Abi (6-2) is matched with Ikioi (3-5), who prevailed in their only previous meeting but is far from 100%. Endo (5-3) will look to best struggling Takarafuji (3-5). Daiesho (6-2) can keep pace by sending Arawashi (1-7) back down to Juryo. And toward the bottom of the torikumi, we have Okinoumi (5-3) going against Daishomaru (4-4), two contenders facing off in Aoiyama (6-2) and Meisei (5-3), and Onosho (6-2) taking on Daiamami (4-4). Yes, this is an unusually wide-open tourney going into the final week!