Sekiwake Ichinojo, who pulled out of the tournament on Day 8, is returning on Day 12, according to the just-released torikumi. With his 2-6-3 record, the best he can hope to do is 6 wins, which wouldn’t be enough to keep him in San’yaku, but presumably he wants to limit the size of his demotion. Let’s hope the decision to return isn’t as misguided as Takakeisho’s was.
Just like Takakeisho, Ichinojo faces Aoiyama in his first bout back. This gives the schedulers an extra intra-San’yaku matchup and allows them to postpone a marquee pairing until deeper in the tournament. Although Ichinojo hasn’t faced Kakuryu, Goeido, or Takayasu, neither has Tochinoshin, and it will be interesting to see what the schedulers end up doing on the final 3 days, since technically Ichinojo outranks Tochinoshin but makes for less interesting bouts.
The Day 12 matchups for the Big 4 are Kakuryu vs. Ryuden, Goeido vs. Takarafuji, Takayasu vs. Abi, and Tochinoshin vs. Meisei. Co-leader Asanoyama draws Tamawashi, while chaser Kotoeko (M15, 8-2) will face Okinoumi (M4, 2-8), an 11-rank disparity.