Nagoya 2022 Day Nine
Public League Leaderboard
Yokozuna East Terunofuji
Maegshira #2 East Kotonowaka
Maegshira #2 West Ichinojo
Maegshira #6 West Tobizaru
Maegshira #8 West Nishikigi
Maegshira #17 East Nishikifuji
Ashitori. Terutsuyoshi took advantage of a hobbled and struggling Daiamami by immediately taking hold of his leg and winning with a sensational leg pick.
Match of the Day
Sekiwake East Wakatakakage versus Maegashira #2 East Kotonowaka
Kotonowaka got the hold at the tachiai and went forwards towards a simple yorikiri. The Sekiwake was able to turn himself at the edge for an attempted throw. Kotonowaka planted his feet, stopped the throw, and regrouped to shove Wakatakakage out the other way. This was a great demonstration of how Kotonowaka's sumo is developing to make him one of the best.
There was more COVID news for sumo on Day Nine. Hanaregoma-beya and Naruto-beya are out for the rest of the basho. Naruto-beya has no Makuuchi wrestlers, but a bunch of lower-level rikishi including Juryo debutant Oshoma. Hanaregoma-beya is the home of Ichiyamamoto, whose excellent basho has now ended. This makes three full stables out due to a COVID diagnosis, and there is the worry it will expand.
Ichiyamamoto's fusen loss to fellow-leader Nishikifuji was the only loss among the seven men who entered Day Nine on six wins. That means the leaderboard now contains six men with two losses, and they will all have a chance to get their kachi-koshi on Day Ten. None of the Day Ten matchups will see a 7-2 rikishi against a fellow 7-2 rikishi. Six wrestlers standing atop the leaderboard is tremendously crowded, and it could stay that crowded for another day.
Terunofuji has to still be the favorite as the Yokozuna, but he clearly isn't at 100%. Ichinojo has stopped his losing streak at two, and he will be a handful for any opponent. Kotonowaka appears to be getting better with each match, showing that he may be a Sanyaku mainstay sooner rather than later. They've already done their round-robin, and each have one win and one loss. Terunofuji beat Kotonowaka, Ichinojo beat Terunofuji, and Kotonowaka beat Ichinojo. They all have separate routes to the yusho, unless a playoff takes place.
The three other contenders have not seen anyone with a 7-2 record currently. Tobizaru is just outside the joi-jin at Maegashira #6 and has performed well enough to see the three higher-ranked leaders if he wins on Day Ten. Nishikigi and Nishikifuji will likely see each other soon, helping to narrow the field a little bit. The next few days will either see someone separate, or plot towards a bit of extra sumo. The leaders only task is simple, just keep winning and hope the others falter.
If everyone in the lead pack falters, there is a chance someone else could strike. Takakeisho is sitting one loss back with veteran Chiyotairyu, who has never been a real yusho contender and is fighting better than he has in awhile. Takakeisho is not in his best form, but is an Ozeki with two yusho to his name and is the one man most likely to face Terunofuji. (He's already beaten Kotonowaka and lost to Ichinojo.) He is the best candidate for a yusho winner not currently leading the basho. That is assuming no further disruptions from COVID.