Nagoya 2022 Day Seven
Public League Leaderboard
Maegashira #2 West Ichinojo
Yokozuna East Terunofuji
Maegashira #2 East Kotonowaka
Maegashira #6 West Tobizaru
Maegashira #8 West Nishikigi
Maegashira #11 West Midorifuji
Maegashira #13 East Ichiyamamoto
Maegashira #17 East Nishikifuji
Uwatenage. First of all, it's amazing a Takakeisho-Abi match ended with a throw. More intriguingly, Abi decided to go sideways after Takakeisho started very low. That allowed him to grab the back of Takakeisho's mawashi for a nice overarm throw.
Match of the Day
Maegashira #2 West Ichinojo versus Ozeki #2 West Shodai
Shodai beat the previously undefeated Ichinojo in a way only Shodai can. He weirdly deflected Ichinojo's opening gambit for a mawashi hold with a frantic hand-wave, then moved sideways to attack Ichinojo's considerable right side. That advantageous position still required a bit of effort, since Shodai doesn't have his top strength right now, but it was enough to get him a much needed win.
The big news from Nagoya on Day Seven is that both Takanosho and MItakeumi had to withdraw. Takanosho picked up an injury, and will aim to be back in September. Mitakeumi's entire Dewanoumi-beya is out after a stablemember tested positive for COVID. It wasn't announced who or how many may be positive. What is certain is it was contracted during the basho or in pre-basho activities at the earliest. Presumably everyone else will be tested, and how the entire stable will be handled on the next Banzuke will be determined after the basho.
On the dohyo, Day Seven was consequential as well. Shodai's defeat of Ichinojo not only handed the massive Mongolian his first loss, but significantly tightened the yusho race. Ichinojo is still the sole leader, since Tobizaru fell to Wakamotoharu earlier in the day. Yet immediately behind Ichinojo is a group of 7 headed by Terunofuji. What had seemed in the middle of Day Seven like it would be a yusho arasoi with Ichinojo in total control is now many people's opportunity.
The best opportunity currently belongs to Kotonowaka, at least for a day. He will face his fellow Maegashira #2 Ichinojo in Day Eight's highlight bout. He went to 5-2 because of nifty footwork at the tawara against Tamawashi. It wasn't model sumo. Tamawashi had momentum, and even had the gyoji point the gunbai his way. But Kotonowaka balanced himself right, and the best sometimes have to win like that. He won't want to do that often, but it's a nice arrow for Kotonowaka to keep in his quiver.
Although Kotonowaka has the direct chance to bring himself into a tie for the lead, there are other contenders. Tobizaru, Nishikigi, Midorifuji, Ichiyamamoto, and Nishikifuji are suprising, but intriguing names to be in the yusho race. They are not yet facing the top men, but they will if they continue to succeed. That is certainly not guaranteed, most importantly because they could easily lose to many of the rikishi at 4-3 or 3-4. They've had a run of good form and some luck. No one should count on that holding up in lower Maegashira.
The scheduling will also get interesting, if not a little odd. Three Makuuchi rikishi are now out of the Nagoya basho. That creates headaches for who comes up from Juryo each day. After Day Eight, Terunofuji, Ichinojo, and Kotonowaka will all have faced each other. Add in the prohibition on stablemates facing each other and trying to make sure contenders are challenged, and you can be glad you aren't in charge of the torikumi. Day Seven may just have made the second week of the basho more chaotic.