Haru 2022 Day Four
Kubihineri. Officially, Tochinoshin beat Ichiyamamoto with a "head twisting throw." It didn't look that fancy, as he seemed to really just shove him in the face very hard.
Match of the Day
Maegashira #7 East Takayasu versus Maegashira #6 West Kotonowaka
These two came in to Day Four undefeated, and with a desire to do pretty much the same thing: hold their feet and extend a match. They did that. This was a match where they were leaning on each other, but also constantly trying something by changing grips and slightly moving. Takayasu showed he is still sumo's master of the marathon match by moving Kotonowaka more and winning with a decisive uwatenage.
The two undefeated rikishi are shin-Ozeki Mitakeumi and former-Ozeki Takayasu. After four matches, those are the only ones still standing. Takayasu had a tough match that he won well in the end. Mitakeumi had the sort of match you need to win to get a yusho, as Takanosho had him moving backwards and he only won with fancy dancing at the tawara. Do not bet that both men will stay undefeated, both because zensho yusho are rare and this is a basho that's delivering surprises.
Kiribayama had the biggest surprise win on Day Four by holding up previously undefeated Sekiwake Wakatakakage and slapping him down. The other previously undefeated rikishi who lost were Kotonowaka, Yutakayama, and Nishikigi. Kotonowaka had to face a strong Takayasu, while Yutakayama and Nishikigi seem to have just had their luck run out. Those three joining the one loss group expanded that band to 11 rikishi. So if the surprise match comes for either Mitakeumi or Takayasu, plenty of wrestlers are there to pounce.
The most impressive performance on Day Four might have been Abi, who looked like he lost the match at the tachiai. Meisei did what anyone would say is key to beating Abi, by getting inside and establishing a grip. Despite having the back of his mawashi latched onto, Abi wrapped his right arm around Meisei's left and unleashed a kotenage. If Abi can win so convincingly when he isn't on his sumo, everyone should watch out.
And then there is Terunofuji. He easily dispatched Ichinojo, and the Yokozuna seems to have lost to Daieisho simply because that's the rikishi he has a problem with. The one benefit a Yokozuna always has is he gets to face every challenger. Terunofuji controls his own destiny more than anyone else. There is also the issue of the kadoban Ozeki, as Shodai looks completely lost and Takakeisho is certainly less than 100%. Terunofuji might only face Mitakeumi among the Ozeki, and they could clash on the final day for all the marbles once again.
But that is far off, and Day Five will probably bring some other new intrigue. Right now, no one looks dominant and only two rikishi have won all four of their matches. That is a recipe for something interesting happening in the next 11 days of sumo.