Haru 2022 Day Six
Maegashira #7 East Takayasu
Ozeki 1 West Takakeisho
Sekiwake East Wakatakakage
Maegashira #6 West Kotonowaka
Fusen. The most important result may well be the free win Onosho picked up against Yokozuna Terunofuji, who is now out of the tournament with an ankle problem.
Match of the Day
Komusubi West Hoshoryu versus Sekiwake West Abi
Abi got the jump on Hoshoryu, pushing him back to the tawara from the tachiai. Hoshoryu was moving sideways, though, and at the tawara he moved the match the other way. Once that happened, it was all the young Mongolian. Abi even flew off the dohyo at the end.
The absence of a Yokozuna will linger over the Haru basho now that Terunofuji has gone kyujo. That is the benefit of being a Yokozuna, as he can rest for the next two months and come back fresh in Hatsu. He will still be the top ranked rikishi in sumo, and he will still enter the dohyo as the lone Yokozuna. Like the rest of us, he will just watch what happens with no say in what happens in the tournament.
And right now, what is happening in the tournament is that Takayasu keeps winning. The former Ozeki is looking like he is on his best form, and he keeps dispatching the mid-Maegashira he has been facing. He won't get to keep facing men around his rank, and he likely wouldn't want to. He's already beaten Kotonowaka, but the other two rikishi sitting on one loss are shin-Ozeki Mitakeumi and shin-Sekiwake Wakatakakage. He will face them both sooner or later. That will probably be in the second week. Until then, Takayasu needs to keep winning for it to matter.
Mitakeumi should be listed as the favorite, probably. Takayasu has had trouble staying in top gear for fifteen days recently, and he is going to see much tougher competition in his closing stretch. Mitakeumi is trying to get a back-to-back yusho and is on his super efficient sumo. On Day Six, he beat Meisei without a good grip or a hard shove. He just kept moving with his feet wide for the yorikiri. Wakatakakage is just behind Mitakeumi on the banzuke, and fighting well, but he has never fought this well before and is at a career high rank.
They're still going to have to clash at some point. They'll also have to face Abi, who is at 4-2 as a Sekiwake. MItakeumi will also need to face Hoshoryu, who beat Abi on Day Six in an impressive show of skill and strength. Kotonowaka, whose lone blemish was to Takayasu on Day Four, will also likely be an opponent for any Sanyaku wrestlers. This doesn't even get into the other two Ozeki. Shodai is still mounting the dohyo, but looks like he can't do much at all. Takakeisho seems to be below his top strength, but he does have his skills and rhythm down well enough to rack up some wins.
In short, lots of things will happen on the dohyo for the next few days. What that will be exactly is unclear, but the sole leader being a mid-Maegashira and the Sanyaku looking like they could pummel each other is a guarantee of a surprise result on any day. The way a sumo tournament is designed means all the men who have a chance at the yusho need to keep winning, and they all need to do it against each other.