And just like that, we’re down to one. Kazekeno won his bout against Hitoshi in impressive fashion. Both men understood the stakes at the outset. The tension before the tachiai is palpable. Kazekeno made sure to slide back a few feet from the shikirisen (white lines). Then, he bunny-hopped back six inches farther, which raised Hitoshi’s eyebrows. Hitoshi adjusted his own position while Kazekeno bounced around, settling in for the charge.
When the two men launch out at each other, Kazekeno’s extra distance required him to take two full steps forward. That running start was significant. When he met Hitoshi, his pushed strongly upward, and that extra momentum forced his opponent backward. Hitoshi’s right foot met the tawara but he seemed to miss with his left foot, and stepped out. Kazekeno is undefeated heading into the final match day.
Further up the torikumi in Jonidan, Yamato was pitted against Toseiryu. I’ll give you a little more of an introduction to Toseiryu next. In his previous bouts, Yamato dove straight for his opponents’ legs and was able to score quick, acrobatic wins. However, Toseiryu was a challenge too far. Weighing 50kg more than Yamato, and with considerably more speed and power than any of Yamato’s previous opponents, he blasted the poor youngster into the cushions behind the waiting wrestlers.
Toseiryu is a strong lad who made his debut last tournament against Kototebakari. Further losses in Osaka against Sokokurai’s nephew, Daiseizan, and Nishonoseki recruit Hanafusa, meant that his 4-3 record was really nothing to sneeze at. In fact, with this win over Yamato, these four men comprise the Jonidan yusho race. They will pair off on Day 13 and the two winners should meet in a thrilling playoff on senshuraku.