Haru 2022 Day Nine
Maegashira #7 East Takayasu
Ozeki #2 West Mitakeumi
Sekiwake East Wakatakakage
Maegashira #6 West Kotonowaka
Watshikomi. Terutsuyoshi went for his favorite leg pick, but Sadanoumi could grab the back of his mawashi and send him down. But Terutsuyoshi kept his momentum going forward while still grabbing a leg, so he got the "thigh-grabbing push down" for the win.
Match of the Day
Maegashira #7 East Takayasu versus Maegashira #10 West Aoiyama
Takayasu doesn't just keep winning, but is providing some of the most entertaining sumo throughout the basho. Against Aoiyama, he didn't manage to get the solid mawashi grip he likes after Aoiyama successfully made it a slap fest. Yet Takayasu once again showed an amazing ability to extend a match, as the two stalemated head-to-head. Takayasu leaned on Aoiyama at that point, which allowed him to push the Bulgarian back and out.
The top four on the yusho arasoi has not changed, but the race for the Emperor's Cup did sharpen on Day Nine. Both Takakeisho and Abi lost their matches, which means no rikishi stands at two losses. Since Takayasu, Mitakeumi, Wakatakakage, and Kotonowaka all won, that makes it a clear four person race. An interloper could come into that group, but it will be extremely difficult.
Takakeisho couldn't get Endo moving backwards, although he did keep up a thrusting attack. Abi unleashed his double-hand-to-the-throat attack on Takarafuji, but he didn't get enough force to move Takarafuji to the tawara. Those matches don't necessarily say either Takakeisho or Abi have no ability to drop a leader to the clay. They just need to drop a few of them to have a chance at a yusho now. They'll get the chance to do it, but it's an uphill climb.
That's especially true because the four rikishi in the leader group are fighting very well. Kotonowaka has only lost to Takayasu and is so fundamentally sound that he just blew up whatever trick Tobizaru was trying to do on Day Nine. Wakatakakage got into a leaning match against Ichinojo despite attempting to make the bigger man move. He won anyway because he just muscled under Ichinojo's bulk. Mitakeumi efficiently went under Daieisho's tsuppari and easily pushed him out. Takayasu just continues to have long matches and win.
Day Ten will feature the all-Sekiwake-clash between Wakatakakage and Abi. Abi could take down Wakatakakage, but Wakatakakage has seemed to take everyone's best shot and turn it around. What he's already done is guaranteed he will be the top Sekiwake once again in May with his eighth win. Abi is fighting in a way he will probably be a Sekiwake again, too. That will be the first real eliminator match. The others sniffing the leaderboard will not face each other until a little later on.
Yet the surprise could come. Endo beating Takakeisho was an upset, if not a total shocker. Based on current form, Takarafuji should have capitulated to Abi's tsuppari, but it didn't happen that way. And the yusho race isn't the only thing worth fighting for. Shodai needs four more wins for his kachi-koshi, while Takakeisho needs two. That will allow both men to keep their Ozeki rank. The Sanyaku for May is nowhere near settled. And now they'll all fight each other.