Many of our “Ones to Watch” are competing in their final match for the Hatsu basho. Many of them have kachi/make-koshi on the line. In the lower divisions, rikishi face opponents with the same win/loss record as themselves. For each match between 3-3 rikishi, one will exit with a kachi-koshi, and one with a make-koshi.
Wakaichiro vs Tainaka – His day 12 match did not end well, with Tenichi propelling him forcefully from the dohyo and into the East side zabuton. He has lost his last 2, but thankfully already had his kachi-koshi tied up. His final match is a tough one, a rematch with Tainaka. The two are evenly matched, and we can hope that Wakaichiro can close out Hatsu with a win.
Kenho vs Kotoharamoto – Kenho has only a single win, and will be returning to Jonidan for March. His final match, and chance to pick up a second win, is against a much smaller, 17 year old rikishi from Sadogatake heya – Kotoharamoto.
Torakio vs Hokutohomare – A Darwin match, the winner is kachi-koshi, and the loser is make-koshi. Torakio has fought well during Hatsu, and he is facing a rikishi who is fighting ast his highest rank.
Naya vs Kirinoryu – Another 3-3 make/kachi-koshi match, Naya has one remaining chance to secure his Makushita rank by defeating Sandanme rikishi Kirinoryu. Kirinoryu is another young rising star, who is himself seeking to return to Makushita.
Ichiyamamoto vs Kotokamatani – Next we jump to the upper ranks of Makushita, and we find two kachi-kishi rikishi (4-2) battling it out to see which one will end up higher on the “Wall” for March.
Wakamotoharu vs Tochinobori – The big match of the night is a battle for the Makushita yusho, and we find Wakamotoharu facing off against Makushita 53 Tochinobori. It may seem odd that the pairing has such a huge rank gap, but with the goal being to get to a single 7-0 yusho winner, these things happen. Wakamotoharu has already punched is Juryo ticket, but this one is for glory.
Akua vs Kotodaigo – Both rikisji are make-koshi, so this is to sort out who gets the bigger demotion. Sadly Akua has missed his best change for a while to return to Juryo, but we can hope he can regroup in Osaka.