Natsu 2022 Day Eight
Public League Leaderboard
Maegashira #3 West Tamawashi
Maegashira #4 West Takanosho
Maegashira #11 East Aoiyama
Maegashira #12 West Sadanoumi
Maegashira #15 West Ichiyamamoto
Tsukite. Not only did Midorifuji lose to Meisei by "hand touch down," a non-kimarite indicating Meisei didn't cause it to happen, the accidental loss feels like a good summation of a sloppy day of sumo.
Match of the Day
Sekiwake East Wakatakakage versus Maegashira #2 West Kotonowaka
On a day of odd step outs, curious falls, and desperate throws from the edge, this match at least had some exciting back and forth. Wakatakakage managed to get a double inside grip at the tachiai, but Kotonowaka established his base and latched on way outside with his right hand. That resulted in Wakatakakage steadily pushing Kotonowaka back, until Kotonowaka tried to throw the Sekiwake. That didn't work and saw Kotonowaka staring straight over the dohyo. Somehow, though, Kotonowaka kept his feet better and Wakatakakage's right foot stepped out first.
Senshuraku was not a day for the highlight reels. Rikishi were slipping all over and about half the Makuuchi matches looked like they needed a mono-ii until the slow motion replay. It was almost like the top division collectively lost awareness of the tawara. Takanosho will take the headlines for picking up a kinboshi, and good for him. Terunofuji also threw him down after stepping out, less out of some sense of carrying on than just that was how the match went.
From the larger perspective, the real story after eight days is that everyone still seems to be in the yusho race. 28 rikishi are 4-4 or better. All 28 are also within at least 2 wins of the current leaders. That six man group is also not full of pre-basho favorites or rikishi who have been recently dominant. Tamawashi has a yusho to his name, and Aoiyama has been in Sanyaku before himself. Those two are also aging veterans. Takanosho and Ichiyamamoto have just never given proof they would stay in a yusho race. Sadanoumi is both.
None of the Sanyaku have fought like they'll grab the basho and take the yusho with a hot streak over the second week. Hoshoryu might have come closest, and he has a legitimate complaint that the gyoji called his Day Eight match for Shodai and that there was no mono-ii. On the other hand, it was a situation where both were falling over the edge at basically the same time. Hoshoryu should probably be at 6 wins and in the leaders group, while Shodai would need to win out to avoid kadoban status again.
They functionally are in extremely similar places. Hoshoryu wasn't going to be the sole leader anyway, and Shodai has a one loss margin for error. That's where we're at across Makuuchi. Everyone is so jumbled that the possibilities are endless for any rikishi still competing, barring Takarafuji. The solid veteran is clearly out of power this tournament, and he collected 8 losses in 8 days. He has a make-koshi already. Kotokuzan is at 1-7, and he is in similarly dire straits.
The 12 man pile at 4-4 and the 7 man group at 3-5 have had disappointing tournaments in many ways. They have been uneven and fought poorly at times. No one in those groups is performing in such a way they look like they have a multi-match win streak in them. Everything is disjointed. And since it is, everyone 3-5 or better does have a chance if they can just get on their brand of sumo or get a little bit of luck.