I tried to take a look at all the “underclassmen” yusho races today. First up, Jonokuchi
The Jonokuchi yusho will come down to Setonoumi vs Mifuneyama. Setonoumi faced Kokuryunami. Because of an odd-numbered yusho race in Jonidan, Mifuneyama was once again called up, this time to face Kakutaiki. He has fought three consecutive bouts in Jonidan, won all three, and solidified a decisive 7th bout in both divisions, Jonokuchi and Jonidan.
I’ll get to the Jonidan matchup next but before that, I included the sixth bout of Ito, the lone newbie competing in this tournament. He came into this bout with one loss but after a tough first round bout against Setonoumi, he faced yet another wall in Watanabe. Despite the 58kg difference in weight, Watanabe dropped Ito outside of the tawara with a thud. Let’s add this one to the watch list, shall we?
In Jonidan the yusho will be decided by Hitoshi vs Kotakiyama. Hitoshi is the surprising survivor of the July debut cohort after Kiryuko’s kotenage defeat to Kotakiyama (last bout from the compilation video above). Who knew going for a left-handed belt grip would almost cost you your arm? Kotenageyama sure swallowed that up. Then he proceeded to fling Kiryuko clear off the playing surface.
Hitoshi, on the other hand, came to play. He struck quickly and ushered Yashiroumi over the bales. He beat veteran Kenho as well as up-and-comers Nobehara and Mogamizakura earlier in this tournament. Kotakiyama will have his hands full…or, more precisely, he will hope to have his hands full of Hitoshi’s belt. So far, Hitoshi has not won any yorikiri bouts. He’s strictly an oshidashi/hatakikomi rikishi. This will be an interesting contrast in styles.
Sandanme & Makushita Yusho Races
Up in Sandanme, the race comes down to Fujiseiun, Narutaki, and Suguro. Fujiseiun won his Jonokuchi debut (with a playoff win over Suguro) and then lost the Jonidan playoff in July to Osanai. Other than that playoff loss, he’s undefeated and likely the favorite for the yusho.
Here, we see Kitanowaka defeat Makushita strongman Ishizaki for a slot in the Makushita final.
He will face Fukai who executed this brilliant spin-o-rama against Hikarifuji, and who may earn an “Asa”-based tongue-twister shikona if his success continues.