Natsu 2022 Day Thirteen
Public League Leaderboard
Yokozuna East Terunofuji
Maegashira #4 West Takanosho
Maegashira #12 West Sadanoumi
Komusubi West Daieisho
Maegashira #2 East Kiribayama
Maegashira #6 East Ura
Maegashira #11 East Aoiyama
Katasukashi. Oho did a nice little under shoulder swing down to beat Myogiryu. Then the master mounted the dohyo in the next match, and Midorifuji pulled out a picture perfect one on Nishikigi.
Match of the Day
Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus Ozeki #2 West Takakeisho
Terunofuji have had some classic matchups, including in playoffs, but this was more odd exciting than a battle of rikishi at the top of their game. Takakeisho got his pushing fight, but couldn't push away Terunofuji at any point. They wound up standing, staring at each other in a reset. That ended when Takakeisho clapped his hands in Terunofuji's face and went up and under. Unfortunately for him, that didn't work and Terunofuji got a hold. The win was even emphatic enough to be a yoritaoshi and not a yorikiri.
Takanosho fell down to his hands against Wakatakakage and fell off his perch as the sole leader. Takanosho has been doing well, but Wakatakakage kept his feet and saw the opening when Takanosho went forward. Although the Sekiwake isn't repeating his yusho, he demonstrated to Takanosho how tough winning a tournament can be. Takanosho isn't out of the race at all, but he no longer controls his own destiny.
In fact, he's in a tie at 3 losses with Terunofuji and Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi has already equaled his best performance in Makuuchi ever, which was in his Maegashira debut in 2014. He is definitely the least likely one to pull out the yusho, but he also has just two more matches to keep it up. He's come this far, so maybe he can continue this success over the final weekend. Terunofuji, meanwhile, oddly gets two easier matches than it seems on paper because he gets to face the struggling Ozeki pair of Shodai and then Mitakeumi.
Every basho comes down to matchups, but this one is particularly odd. There are 7 rikishi on either 10 or 9 wins. Just two matchups on Day Fourteen will see those rikishi square off. Those marquee matchups for the penultimate day of sumo are Maegashira #12 West Sadanoumi versus Komusubi West Daieisho and Maegashira #2 East Kiribayama versus Maegashira #4 West Takanosho. Those are not prototypical deciding matchups this close to the end of the basho.
They will also absolutely impact the yusho race. If both Daieisho and Kiribayama win, then the Yokozuna has a simple path to lifting another Emperor's Cup. He would just need to win out and could possible have it secured before his final match. If Sadanoumi and Takanosho win, then the final day has all kind of permutations. A playoff isn't just likely, but nearly probable. And a Terunofuji loss to Shodai, unlikely but not impossible, would make everything even wilder.
None of that gets to the fact that with two days left 18 rikishi are still able to get either kachi-koshi or make-koshi. That 18 include 5 of the 8 Sanyaku wrestlers, with a clutch of upper Maegashira poised to take those slots if Sanyaku fail. This kind of situation means that everyone is fighting for something and everyone is giving their all to the point of possible recklessness. Let's enjoy this final weekend.