Hakuho Alone in Lead; Terunofuji, Kaisei, Ikioi Chase

The leadership field was cut in half today with Kaisei losing to Goeido in his first big test. My last post was about how Goeido came to the rescue to keep the tournament interesting…today he takes out the only other competitor tied for the lead. Hakuho stepped up and beat Kotoshogiku. He’ll have Kisenosato and Harumafuji to close out the tournament. He “controls his own destiny,” so if he wins out – he wins the tournament. If anyone else is going to win, not only will Terunofuji, Kaisai, or Ikioi need to win all of their matches, they’ll need help as Kisenosato or Harumafuji will have to hand the yokozuna his 3rd loss.

The last time he had three losses was last spring when Kakuryu won. In the Hakuho era, it does seem like 3 losses is only ever good for second place, as it should be. This would have been a golden opportunity for Kisenosato to step up and claim a yusho but his hopes were dashed in a hatakikomi loss to Harumafuji. Harumafuji was probably super motivated today because he’ll face desperate Kotoshogiku tomorrow and a motivated Hakuho on Sunday.

As for the three other title-chasers, they’ve got their work cut out. Terunofuji will face Myogiryu tomorrow while Ikioi will go head-to-head against Ichinojo and Kaisei will face Tochinoshin. Ikioi handed Ichinojo his first defeat in the Mongolian’s impressive debut tournament. Kaisei and Tochinoshin surprisingly have a fairly even record. If Kaisei wins, they’ll be tied 6-6 in their rivalry. Kaisei’s no stranger to the sanyaku and he may find himself back up there if Myogiryu, Ichinojo, and Tochiozan can’t pick up wins! More likely he’ll be M1 or M2 next tournament but a jun-yusho may get him into a komusubi slot.

Amuru finally picked up his kachi-koshi, along with Goeido. Let’s see if Goeido can pick up 10 wins!

May Tournament 2015: Day 7

Amuru has been eating his Wheaties. At the end of the first week he’s tied for the lead at 6-1, two wins away from getting his first kachi-koshi in the upper makuuchi division. In his two previous basho in makuuchi, he just seemed to be lost and the other wrestlers were taking advantage of his lack of size. He’s usually giving up 20 kg at least. He’s smaller than Harumafuji by 10 kilos. So, today he wasn’t able to get Takanoiwa moving backward but he didn’t need to. He just grabbed his neck and let him fall forward.

Jokoryu’s unable to get purchase with his right knee and was duly shown out of the dohyo by the previously winless, JURYO ranked Tenkaiho. It will be a struggle for him to stay in makuuchi. He and Endo need to call it a tournament, get the treatment they need, and come back when they’re healthy.

Amuru dropped to Jonidan after missing 6 tournaments and has come all the way up into Makuuchi. And we all know Tochinoshin dropped to makushita with his injury. Not only has he come back, he OWNS Ichinojo. He got an impressive yorikiri win over the Mongolian today and has won 5 of their 6 meetings, including the playoff win in Juryo to secure the yusho. While Ichinojo was steamrolling the makuuchi in his first tournament, Tochinoshin must have been watching from juryo and thinking, “Dude, I’ve already beat this guy twice! What’s the matter with y’all?”

Fujiazuma and Arawashi are still winless. Arawashi gave Endo his first victory. Meanwhile, 40 year old Kyokutenho is one win off pace, getting his 5th win in a row after he bulled through Toyohibiki. His stablemate and fellow Mongolian Kyokushuho is tied for the lead along with the afore mentioned Amuru, rank-and-filers Kaisei, Okinoumi, Takayasu and the big guns, Hakuho, Harumafuji, and Terunofuji.

Ozeki Kisenosato stayed one loss off of the pace with a hard fought, rough win over Oosunaarashi. But the Ozeki B-team dropped further off pace as Goeido lost to Tochiozan and Kotoshogiku had nothing against Terunofuji. Goeido stayed way to high on the tachiai. He gives up 6 cm to Tochiozan but was apparently trying to go over top to get a hold of his belt? Silly. Tochiozan used the leverage to get Goeido going backwards, out of the ring, and unceremoniously dropped on his butt onto the floor.

Week Two will probably narrow the competition down to just the big boys but it’s good to see the rank-and-filers hanging in there. It should make for a more interesting week 2 than what we’ve seen in the past few tournaments with everyone chasing Hakuho.

Hakuho might get an easy win tomorrow off Oosunaarashi because he seemed to be hurt after tumbling out under Kisenosato. Meanwhile, Harumafuji will have a challenge against Ichinojo. Kyokushuho faces off against Amuru so we’re guaranteed to have at least one 7-1 Maegashira, even if everyone else loses.