2019 Kyushu Basho: Day 13
It’s Friday, Day 13 of the Kyushu Basho, and yokozuna Hakuho’s lead has increased. He won yesterday, upping his record to 11–1, but the only rikishi immediately behind him—komusubi Asanoyama—lost sending him into a tie with M10 Shodai at 9–3 and two wins behind Hakuho.
• The good news is that Asanoyama didn’t put in a bad performance. His loss to sekiwake Mitakeumi was one of the best bouts of the day yesterday—the kind of sumo we’ve sorely been lacking over the course of this whole tournament. Asanoyama fought strong and pressed Mitakeumi, but in the end was beaten by a better rikishi, and there’s no shame in that. It was particularly good to see Mitakeumi put in such a good showing and even his record at 6–6.
• It’s a little strange, going into the final weekend, to already have thirteen rikishi with make-koshi [majority of losses], although six of those are kyujo [absent due to injury]. What makes it even stranger is that only seven rikishi have secured kachi-koshi at this point. That leaves twenty-two rikishi still on the bubble. Five of those are 7–5 and need only one more win to reach the magic number, which means that seventeen rikishi must win at least two of their remaining three matches or face demotion. No matter how you slice it, overall this has been a very rocky basho.