- Fantasy Basho
Hatsu 2022 Day Ten
Kekaeashi. Well, they said Akua beat Kaisei with a minor inner foot sweep, and he did kick his leg out at Kaisei's. But he didn't really make contact, so much as create momentum that sent Kaisei down.
Match of the Day
Maegashira #12 East Ishiura versus Maegashira #14 East Kotonowaka
Kotonowaka was going for his kachi-koshi and a chance at staying in the yusho race. Ishiura provided all of his tricks, which he needed. Kotonowaka got Ishiura locked up, but awkwardly, and didn't have a chance to do something. Somehow, the Sadogatake man thought a trip would work, but Ishiura blocked it with his own leg maneuver. He instead was able to set up a textbook shitatenage.
The story of Day Ten is Mitakeumi's loss to Hokutofuji. The effect on the yusho race is slightly bigger than the drama of the match itself. Hokutofuji got inside enough to push on Mitaekumi's armpits for a straightforward yorikiri. Essentially, Hokutofuji did a Mitakeumi to the Sekiwake himself and handed Mitakeumi the first loss. WIth Terunofuji easily bottling up Onosho, the yusho arasoi was once again tied. That's a five day rush for the Emperor's Cup.
And Abi and Takarafuji are certainly still right there with a chance. Both men sit at 2 losses, and are the only ones there with losses by the Sadogatake-beya pair of Kotonowaka and Kotoeko. Kotonowaka still has an influence on the yusho race, especially as he faces Takarafuji on Day Eleven. Abi, meanwhile, faces Ichinojo. Although the massive Mongolian is 5-5, his Maegashira #2 rank is the highest level on the banzuke Abi will face so far. He will essentially prove if he should see Mitakeumi or Terunofuji before Hatsu is over.
How the two leaders will finish is uncertain, beyond the fact their clash will be the matchup of the tournament. Expect it to be the final match of the final day. How they get there will be odd. Shodai and Mitakeumi will face each other on Day Eleven, which means the one remaining Ozeki may not be seeing the two leaders toward the very end. Shodai could upset Mitakeumi, despite his terrible performance this basho. No one is more surprising in sumo, for better or worse, than Shodai. The matchup also has a near even record historically, with a slight 14-12 advantage to Mitakeumi.
Then there is the specter of Mitakeumi's second week troubles. MItakeumi has been in pole position to become an Ozeki multiple times before. He largely has not made the leap to sumo's second rank because he racks up too many losses over the final days of a torunament. Of course, he has become Mr. Upper Sanyaku, and all of his toughest matches have been in the final days for the last few years. Still, if he wants a third yusho and the leap to Ozeki, he needs to pile up a few more wins.
Hokutofuji was not the first choice for who would defeat Mitakeumi. Similarly, Tamawashi's upset of Terunofuji on Day Six was not an expected outcome. In the final five days, plenty of upsets could be in store. Yet we may also see clashes of the best men in the tournament so far. Other than Terunofuji versus Takarafuji, which won't happen because they are stablemates, the men on the yusho arasoi leaderboard will decide the Emperor's Cup by wrestling each other.