2019 Kyushu Basho: Day 4
Day 4 of the Kyushu Basho dawns with a really strange set of circumstances. The undefeated top of the leaderboard is already down to only THREE rikishi, and the highest ranked among them is M9 Yutakayama—the other two being M10 Shodai and M16 Wakatakage (which is a lot of fun to say).
• Yokozuna Hakuho and ozeki Takayasu both seemed to snap back from their Day 2 stumbles nicely. Ozeki Takakeisho, on the other hand, still seemed a little out of sorts in spite of getting back into a winning way. But a shadow of doubt has now been cast over them all, and it will only embolden their opponents for the remainder of the tournament.
• Sekiwake Mitakeumi also got back in a winning way yesterday by beating M2 Meisei, but it wasn’t terribly convincing. He got beaten at the tachi-ai and had both his arms wrapped up, but Meisei put himself in too upright a stance and Mitakeumi was able to use his much bigger body to maneuver him out of the ring. Unfortunately, the two butted heads at the tachi-ai giving Mitakeumi a gash over his right eye. That’s going to hamper him over the coming days and make his run at a promotion to ozeki that much more difficult.
• Sekiwake Tochinoshin finally got a win, and an important one over komusubi Endo. On Days 1 & 2, Tochinoshin went in hard only to get out-maneuvered and rolled to the clay. Yesterday he took a more cautious approach against the wiley Endo and found himself in trouble early. But since he wasn’t over-committed, he was able to fend him off and turn the tables, sending Endo sprawling to his second defeat of the basho. Tochinoshin is still in a very tough spot, needing to win three-quarters of his remaining matches in order to regain the rank of ozeki, but at least now there’s some hope.
• You may recall that in September Okinoumi stayed in the hunt for the yusho all the way to the final weekend. This earned him a promotion all the way up to M1, which unfortunately means he’s starting the tournament fighting all the toughest rikishi. He lucked out and got a fusensho [win by default] on Day 2 because of Goeido’s injury, but he’s going to have to find a way to get another win or two here in Week 1 if he wants any kind of chance of getting kachi-koshi and remaining here near the top of the banzuke [ranking sheet].