Haru 2022 Day Ten
Maegashira #7 East Takayasu
Sekiwake East Wakatakakage
Maegashira #6 West Kotonowaka
Ozeki #2 West Mitakeumi
Katasukashi. Terutsuyoshi got the victory over Wakamotoharu by grabbing an arm, stepping back, and pulling out the always entertaining "under shoulder swing down."
Match of the Day
Maegashira #7 East Takayasu versus Komusubi West Hoshoryu
Hoshoryu seemed to be having the best of the yusho leader for much of the match, but then it kept going. Hoshoryu is excellent at throwing an off-balance opponent, especially when he can get a deep grip. Takayasu just never gets that far off-balance. The match just kept going and going, which is usually an advantage for the former Ozeki. Eventually, Hoshoryu attempted one throw too many and was worn out enough to lose by a simple yorikiri.
The most consequential match of the day was Hokutofuji's upset of Mitakeumi. Hokutofuji managed a grip, but any grip from Hokutofuji seemed to be a surprise to Mitakeumi. Otherwise, Takayasu, Wakatakakage, and Kotonowaka all won, creating a three man leaderboard of possible first-time yusho winners. And on Day Eleven, the exciting matches are finally here. Takayasu will face Wakatakakage, Abi and Mitakeumi square off, and Kotonowaka will be in the musubi no ichiban against Takakeisho.
Since Day Eleven will hugely impact the top of the yusho race, maybe the close of Day Ten is the time to look at the other end of the sumo spectrum. The relegation battle is easily taking shape. Akua, 2-8 at Maegashira #15, has almost guaranteed he will drop to Juryo. At 3-7 from the lowest Makuuchi rank, Ichiyamamoto must win out to stay in the top division. The identity of other relegated rikishi is yet to be determined, but Kagayaki and Kotokuzan need to fight well over their final five days. Tochinoshin and Nishikigi are one win away from kachi-koshi and safety, and Juryo might only offer three worthy promotion candidates.
The other important ranks for May have yet to be determined entirely. Shodai looked like he would not survive his kadoban status by getting 8 losses or more and slipping from the Ozeki ranks. But now he's on a four match winning streak and looking better each day. Takakeisho needs just one more win to stay Ozeki himself. Wakatakakage's strong performance has already guaranteed he will stay at Sekiwake. Abi is at a positive 6-4, but will have his toughest matches to close the basho. Takanosho will slip from Sanyaku, but his fellow Komusubi Hoshoryu has a chance at sticking if he can manage at least 4 wins in 5 days. He will have his easiest matches of the basho from here on out.
Takayasu and Kotonowaka might have done enough to secure a Komusubi rank, although yushos and Jun-yushos would help more. Meanwhile, Ichinojo and Kiribayama have had performances so far at their ranks that have resulted in Sanyaku promotion before. Daieisho is also the top Maegashira and dead even at the moment. Getting into Sanyaku is an impressive achievement for any rikishi at any time, and there are multiple rikishi fighting for few spots.
And every rikishi is always, as a base line, looking for eight wins. From the lowest Maegashira trying to stay in Makuuchi to an Ozeki wanting to keep his rank, a kachi-koshi is a good thing. Going up in rank for the next tournament is positive, while any extra win always means more money. Pretty much everybody mounting the dohyo is fighting for something still, even if they can't take the Emperor's Cup. We also have a great yusho race this basho.