At least three yusho were to be decided on Day 13, the first of which being Jonokuchi.
The match-up we’d been waiting for all week finally happened. Mifuneyama, on the left, against Setonoumi. As we’ve come to expect from Setonoumi, he charged in hard and then pulled. The experienced Mifuneyama was waiting and charged back. He kept his footing through the pull-down attempt and thrust forward. However, the deciding moment was when Setonoumi side-stepped and re-engaged from Mifuneyama’s right side, opposite the damaged knee. This pressured Mifuneyama laterally and there was no way he’d be able to use the tawara to stop Setonoumi’s charge. Congratulations, Setonoumi.
Next up, Jonidan. Hiroshi, with the untied zambara hairstyle on the left, faced Kotakiyama of Futagoyama-beya. Hiroshi over-powered Kotakiyama for the yusho but both men have punched their tickets to Sandanme.
Speaking of Sandanme, that yusho was a little bit more in doubt as three men were tied with 6-0 records at the start of the evening. Low-leader Suguro was paired with Asakishin in a battle between two guys who are basically allergic to mawashi and will do anything to stay away from yotsu-zumo. Asakishin has actually only won one bout via yorikiri in a 6-year career, while losing 28. More than 60 of his wins have been by oshidashi, so we could expect a slapfest for sure. The morning demon god is the swole bloke on the right. Suguro is on the left…oh, the anticipation…
HENKA! Beautiful side-step and slap down. Suguro’s defeat meant the yusho was decided in the matchup of undefeated Fujiseiun and Narutaki. Fujiseiun wanted to get in close and establish a belt-grip. He’s proven quite adept at yotsu-zumo. However, Narutaki much prefers a brawling, straight-forward oshi-style. He kept Fujiseiun away from the belt but couldn’t get in to establish his own attack as Fujiseiun drove him back. At the straw bales Narutaki tried a pulldown but it was far too late as Fujiseiun had already pushed him out to claim his 3rd straight 7-0 record and his second yusho.
With so many Makushita contenders out of the running early, the yusho came down to Fukai vs Kitanowaka, a young oshi-style recruit against a more established yotsu-veteran of the upper Makushita.
The decisive moment comes at the tachiai as Kitanowaka locks on target quickly and Fukai is briefly able to wrest himself from his opponent’s firm grip. But Kitanowaka is way too high and unable to launch any kind of counter attack so Fukai locked in again, and began to press forward. At the edge Kitanowaka tries a last-second twist but was not able to execute in time.
＊Correction: My original account had swapped Fukai for Kitanowaka mid-way through this paragraph. That has been fixed.
Thus ends the lower-division yusho races for Wacky-Aki. With Takagenji’s vacancy, one additional sekitori slot is open for a Makushita promotion and eyes turn to the final weekend and the yusho races in the pro-ranks.