SUMO: 2019 Haru Basho-Day 14
It’s Day 14 of the Haru Basho, and as we move into the final weekend there’s been a significant shift on the leaderboard, though not at the top. Yokozuna Hakuho is still leading the race for the yusho with a perfect 13â€“0 record, and M4 Ichinojo is still trailing him by just a single loss. However, all of the rikishi who were one step behind him lost yesterday, leaving them all mathematically eliminated from contention for the yusho [tournament championship]. Either Hakuho or Ichinojo will be our champion!
Hakuho had a strong win yesterday handing ozeki Goeido his third loss. He faces ozeki Takayasu today and yokozuna Kakuryu on senshuraku [the final day]. If he wins both matches he’ll have his 42nd yusho and 15th zensho-yusho [perfect record championships] (both building on all-time records he already holds).
Ichinojo is the only one with a chance to catch Hakuho IF the yokozuna stumbles AND Ichinojo can keep on winning. He faces sekiwake Takakeisho today in what is probably the most anticipated match of the day. While Ichinojo is fighting to stay in the running for the yusho, Takakeisho (who is now 9â€“4) needs one more win to have a chance at a promotion to ozeki. Technically, Takakeisho will have another shot at that tomorrow, but losing to Ichinojo in this high-stakes a pairing would definitely be mark against him in the eyes of the Kyokai [Sumo Association]. This would be unfortunate since Takakeisho just gave himself a mark in his favor yesterday by upsetting ozeki Takayasu.
It’s looking really unlikely that ozeki Tochinoshin will be able to hold on to his position at sumo’s second-highest rank. After losing to yokozuna Kakuryu yesterday, his record stands at 6â€“7, so he must win both of his remaining bouts in order to avoid demotion. Today he fights sekiwake Tamawashi and almost certainly ozeki Goeido tomorrow. Given how unreliable his tachi-ai [initial charge] has been, it’s hard to envision him winning both bouts. But, as they say, you have to take it one day at a time, and Tochinoshin has a good enough chance against Tamawashi, who is having a terrible tournament and currently finds himself with a 5â€“8 record.
Meanwhile, komusubi Mitakeumi guaranteed himself make-koshi [majority of losses] with his Friday loss to Ichinojo, which means he’s almost guaranteed to drop out of the sanyaku ranks for the first time since January of 2017. Thankfully for mitakeumi, the problem that dogged him this basho seems to be relatively minor, so with a bit of rest and recuperation he should be able to bounce back in May and hopefully earn a promotion back into the named ranks. He’ll bolster that chance if he can finish out the tournament with a couple of wins over lower-ranked opponents.
There’s a lot of action today, but the big thing to keep in mind is if Ichinojo loses and Hakuho wins, the yusho will be decide. Now here’s a look at someo the day’s most interesting matches.