Aki 2022 Day Eleven
PUBLIC LEAGUE LEADERBOARD
10 wins 16 Maegashira #3 East Tamawashi
9 wins 26 Maegashira #8 West Hokutofuji 29 Maegashira #10 East Nishikifuji
8 wins 05 Sekiwake #1 East Wakatakakage 11 Maegashira #1 East Tobizaru 18 Maegashira #4 West Takayasu
Henka. Midorifuji did an extremely well executed henka, going forward at first and then heading sideways while redirecting the out-of-sorts Daieisho for an easy win.
MATCH OF THE DAY
Maegashira #1 East Tobizaru versus Maegashira #3 West Ura
It seems obvious that these two would have an interesting match, but what was surprising was that they both seemed so aware of the other's tricks they didn't engage. That produced a sort-of-slapping, sort-of-stalemate dance around the dohyo for awhile. Then the two did lockup, resulting in one of the more entertaining throws you'll see. Tobizaru won with the shitatenage, but Ura made it look like he could reverse it the whole way down.
Tamawashi pretty easily dispatched Hokutofuji to take sole possesion of the yusho race after Day Eleven. It was Tamawashi-zumo the whole way. He used such a strong nodowa that Hokutofuji was sent straight up and never looked like he could do anything. In the end, he didn't do anything and fell into the chase group behind Tamawashi. The 37-year-old is currently standing atop the sumo world, and everyone else is looking how to catch him.
Joining Hokutofuji on 9 wins after eleven matches is Nishikifuji. Nishikifuji is even more in uncharted territory than Hokutofuji, as he is in his second top division basho. But he is fighting very well, with a mix of kimarite in his wins. He could keep it up, although he faces a stern challenge on Day Eleven. 3-loss Maegashira #1 East Tobizaru is on 8-3, almost guaranteed to make Sanyaku in November, and is able to dash away Nishikifuji's yusho hopes on Day Twelve.
The other two rikishi on three losses right now are Sekiwake Wakatakakage and Maegashira #4 West Takayasu. Their yusho-race bonafides are a little stronger than those of Hokutofuji, Nishikifuji, and Tobizaru. After all, they were in a playoff in March. Wakatakakage won that yusho, and is a Sekiwake. If he repeats his playoff win from March on Day Twelve, Wakatakakage will put Takayasu out of the yusho race for good.
Avoiding these eliminator matches is Tamawashi. Partly, this is because he has already faced Hokutofuji and Wakatakakage, who handed Tamawashi his one loss on Day Seven. Presumably, the winners among the eliminator matches on Day Twelve he hasn't seen will be among his final three opponents. No Ozeki or Sekiwake can be, because he has faced them. So if a higher-ranked opponent is designated to beat back Tamawashi, it will have to be a Komusubi and none of them have been covering themselves in glory.
Tamawashi is alone at 1-loss and controls his own destiny for the rest of Aki. Yet a playoff is more in place than it otherwise would be. The matchups are just too odd for the rest of the basho. The usual clashes between leaders won't be as easy to arrange. The other reason to watch out for the surprising over the rest of Aki is that the first eleven days have already been crazy.