Nagoya 2022 Day Eleven
Public League Leaderboard
Yokozuna East Terunofuji
Maegashira #2 West Ichinojo
Ozeki #1 East Takakeisho
Maegashira #6 West Tobizaru
Maegashira #8 West Nishikigi
Maegashira #17 East Nishikifuji
Fusen. The entirety of Sagogatake stable, one of sumo's largest, is out because of an in-heya COVID case. That's a fusen loss for Kotoshoho, Kotoeko, and most significantly Kotonowaka. Tamanoi-beya, home to Juryo men Azumaryu and Tohakuryu, is also out for COVID reasons.
Match of the Day
Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus Komusubi East Hoshoryu
Before too long, Hoshoryu is going to defeat Terunofuji. On Day Eleven, he was able to get a deep right hand grip and attack the Yokozuna sideways. That didn't immediately lead to anything, but did prevent Terunofuji from being able to do much, either. Then, in a sign Terunofuji is more spry than he often seems, Hoshoryu was trying leg trips to no avail. The youngster gave Terunofuji all he had and put him in trouble, but in the end the Yokozuna won with a powerful Yorikiri.
The heya-wide COVID kyujos keep rolling in, and it certainly feels like it can't be the last. Even if no more stables are out from this point forward, six whole stables have had to withdraw during the tournament. Tagonoura-beya, home to Takayasu, was out before the tournament started. On Day Nine, a leader was taken out when Ichiyamamoto sat out with the rest of Hanaregoma stable. Day Eleven took another leader away from the basho with Kotonowaka's absence.
Yet the sumo keeps going forward. Both Terunofuji and Ichinojo won, and both in rather surprising fashion. Terunofuji took Hoshoryu's best shot and showed leg trips won't work well against him. Ichinojo had to chase Abi, who didn't get his tsuppari in its best form but did prevent an Ichinojo grip. Neither man performed his preferred brand of sumo, and yet neither man seemed to need it. They have four more matches to sort out who can win this basho. Since they've already squared off, we could land on two 13-2 rikishi in a playoff.
Tobizaru and Nishikigi cannot be part of a 13-2 playoff after picking up their third losses on Day Eleven. They are now part of the chase group at 8-3 with Takakeisho and shin-makuuchi man Nishikifuji. Takakeisho beat Tobizaru in a relatively lengthy match for Takakeisho that saw the Ozeki never allow the Flying Monkey to get purchase. The myriad COVID diagnoses and the way these leaders are stretched across the Banzuke will likely mean we are about to see all of these leaders clash.
On Day Twelve, Nishikifuji sees former Ozeki Tochinoshin. That's a challenge in and of itself, and there's no guarantee he stays in the yusho arasoi. Elsewhere, the yusho race gets more naturally evened out. Ichinojo and Tobizaru will have a clash of styles to see if they can keep up their pace. Takakeisho sees Nishikigi, who dropped off after being slapped-down by Myogiryu. If chalk prevails, then the leaderboard remains the higher-ranked men slowly looming with each other. If upsets occur, we have a wild finish coming.
Terunofuji still has to face both Sekiwake and both active Ozeki in his final four matches. He is favored, but Daieisho and Wakatakage have beaten him before. Shodai is resurgent and needs one more win to once again get out of kadoban status and maintain his Ozeki rank. Then, the final day will be Takakeisho versus Terunofuji. Barring their stables being kyujo or a rash of upsets, it should determine the yusho in some way.