Natsu 2022 Day Ten
Public League Leaderboard
Maegashira #4 West Takanosho
Maegashira #15 West Ichiyamamoto
Yokozuna East Terunofuji
Maegashira #2 East Kiribayama
Maegashira #6 East Ura
Maegashira #11 East Aoiyama
Maegashira #12 West Sadanoumi
Katasukashi. Both Ura and Midorifuji, masters of turn, pull, and twist sumo, won by the under shoulder swing down. For anyone else, that is a rare move, but these two both like it.
Match of the Day
Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus Komusubi East Hoshoryu
Hoshoryu got a decent grip at the tachiai, but part of what makes Terunofuji so great is his ability to deal with getting held. Terunofuji reversed the momentum of the match quickly, and began moving Hoshoryu back. Hoshoryu kept trying to use his bag of tricks, especially leg trips. It nearly worked a few times, making the Yokozuna have to rebalance. In the end, Terunofuji kept his feet well to back Hoshoryu out.
Takanosho and Ichiyamamoto both secured a kachi-koshi, guaranteeing a promotion next time out. Their eighth wins also gave them an equal share at the top of the yusho arasoi. But each man was in a spot where getting a winning record was a key achievement coming into Natsu. Takanosho was looking to get back into Sanyaku. Ichiyamamoto was at the foot of the Banzuke, fighting just to stay in the top division. Their long-term rank outlook has already gotten better. Now, they are also in pole position for the yusho race.
Whether Takanosho and Ichiyamamoto are actually favorites with five days left. Terunofuji is sitting one off the pace after beating Hoshoryu, making the Yokozuna the lone Sanyaku wrestler in the one-loss-back group. Of the seven rikishi with 2 or 3 losses, Terunofuji is easily the one most likely to close the basho with five wins. He should, in theory, get the two Sekiwake and all three Ozeki over the final five days. He is still a favorite in every match.
There is also a great chance that Terunofuji will not face all the Ozeki. He does get Abi on Day Eleven, and Wakatakakage will probably follow on Day Twelve. If he wins both of those, he'd actually finish with three struggling rikishi by seeing the Ozeki. A challenger might get the ultimate challenge by squaring off with the lone Yokozuna. That surprise challenger will not be Takanosho, who already beat Terunofuji, or Kiribayama, who lost to Terunofuji. But Ura or Ichiyamamoto could be put against the Yokozuna in place of an Ozeki who cant win the yusho.
The real course of this yusho will be about who Ichiyamamoto faces in sequence. On Day Eleven, he will see Maegashira #8 Shimanoumi. That is the highest ranked rikishi he has seen so far. If he wins, expect him to get Ura, then Kiribayama or Takanosho or both. If he loses any of them, he will be an also-ran and the schedule committee will not care about giving him tougher matches quite as much. If he wins, it will almost be a game to see if someone wants to show him why he is in lower Maegashira.
That kind of chaotic scheduling what-if shows how a playoff may be looming. Rikishi have been clustering throughout the entire tournament. 26 rikishi are at 5-5 or better. That also makes them just three wins back. A 10-5 yusho has never happened, but winning out gives them a chance at being in the race. The 6-4 group, who are two slips, trips, or missteps from being under water, are still in with an outside chance. That's what's on the table for the last five days.