SUMO: 2019 Haru Basho-Day 13
It’s Friday, the 13th day of the Haru Basho (the second Friday is ALWAYS the 13th day of the tournament, but that joke never gets old). Yokozuna Hakuho is still unbeaten and alone atop the leaderboard, with M4 Ichinojo still just one loss behind him. Trailing them is a quartet of rikishi with 10â€“2 recordsâ€”ozeki Takayasu, ozeki Goeido, M7 Aoiyama, M8 Kotoshogiku.
Hakuho got his twelfth victory by handing ozeki Tochinoshin his sixth loss. There wasn’t anything particularly shocking about this. Tochinoshin has only managed to beat Hakuho once in their now twenty-eight match career history, and the ozeki has been injured all tournament. However, Tochinoshin put up a very good fightâ€”he’s just no match for the master. Of course, that leaves him in pretty difficult straits. Tochinoshin is kadoban [threatened with ozeki demotion] and needs to win two out of his remaining three bouts in order to save his ranking. Unfortunately for him, those three bouts will be against yokozuna Kakuryu, ozeki Goeido, and probably sekiwake Takakeisho, and it’s hard to imagine him getting two victories there given his current state of health. Still, it’s not impossible, and getting to remain an ozeki is a strong motivator.
Kakuryu lost yesterday for the third time this basho, pretty much eliminating him from contention for the yusho [tournament championship]. As unfortunate as that was for the yokozuna, it was an important win for Takayasu, who is the only current ozeki who has never won a yusho. He’s not likely to win this one, either, but he’s still in the hunt and what he MOST needs for his own purposes is to post a twelve- or thirteen-win final tally (which potentially COULD be a yusho-winning record).
Also losing yesterday was sekiwake Takakeisho, who was slapped down by Goeido. This puts Takakeisho at 8â€“4 overall, and means that he must win two of his remaining bouts to have a chance at getting promoted to ozeki, and he really needs to win all three if he wants to lock in that promotion. (Although Takakeisho’s cause might get a boost if Tochinoshin is about to be demoted.) Goeido continues to look strong in front of his hometown fans, and he holds the key to his own yusho hopes (not to mention all the other current third-place rikishi) as he faces Hakuho today. If he can pull off a win there, the whole complexion of the final weekend will change significantly.
Ichinojo, however, is in the best place to benefit from a potential Goeido win. He’s currently alone in second place, and with his M4 ranking, he’s got a relatively easy schedule remaining. Today he faces komusubi Mitakeumi, who has been injured all basho and looked particularly wobbly in his loss to M2 Myogiryu yesterday. Mitakeumi is on the verge of make-koshi [majority of losses], though, so he’ll be doing some “desperation sumo,” and the question also still remains if Ichinojo is actually capable of keeping up his focused and energetic sumo for the length of a whole tournament.
Lots of exciting matches today, but here are a few of the most interesting.
M11 Meisei (8â€“4) vs M8 Kotoshogiku (10â€“2)â€”Kotoshogiku has been having a terrific tournament and is still in the running for the yusho. Meisei has won six straight matches and has secured his fourth straight kachi-koshi. (3:35)
M7 Aoiyama (10â€“2) vs. M12 Yoshikaze (9â€“3)â€”Aoiyama is also still in the hunt for the yusho. Today he faces Yoshikaze who is on a seven match winning streak. They’re even at 11â€“11 in their all-time head-to-head bouts. (5:40)
M1 Kaisesi (2â€“10) vs. M1 Endo (4â€“8)â€”Two very popular rikishi, both ranked M1, both having TERRIBLE tournaments, but pride is on the line. (8:50)
Komusubi Mitakeumi (5â€“7) vs. M4 Ichinojo (11â€“1)â€”Mitakeumi must win or he’ll drop out of the sanyaku ranks for the first time in two years. Ichinojo must win to stay above the pack in the yusho race. (11:05)
Ozeki Takayasu (10â€“2) vs. sekiwake Takakeisho (8â€“4)â€”Takayasu wants to stay in the yusho hunt. Takakeisho wants to get promoted to ozeki. Big stakes in each case. (13:35)
Yokozuna Hakuho (12â€“0) vs. ozeki Goeido (10â€“2)â€”This is the big match of the day with many rikishi’s fates hanging in the balance. (15:35)