Welcome to the second installment of MyDohyo’s tournament review series, where we’ll be looking at how various rikishi have performed compared to expected (based on previous reviews and pre-existing tournament data) and provide an update on the yusho title race contention.
Day 5 marks the end of the line for Shin-Ozeki Shodai’s November yusho hopes.
In an injury riddled tournament with both Yokozuna absent from Day 1, we could take some consolation in the stunning line up of 3 Ozeki rikishi, going into November’s meet. However, November has so far proven less straightforward than we had anticipated for our Ozeki trio: Asanoyama pulled out on Day 3 after sustaining a right shoulder injury and now Shodai has been forced to withdraw from play on Day 5, leaving Takakeisho. Takakeisho is not only the final Ozeki in play, but also the highest ranked wrestler left in the competition!
Shodai finishes the November tournament on a 3-1 record, after losing to Daieisho on Day 4. His reason for absence is an ankle injury he sustained in an earlier bout – likely linked to the bout he had with Takayasu on Day 3, where he was seen hobbling away from the Dohyo.
As of the last installment in this review series (Days 1 to 3), we had listed a group of 10 rikishi who were on perfect 3-0 scores: Shimanoumi, Chiyonokuni, Hoshoryu, Kotoeko, Endo, Hokutofuji, Terunofuji, Okinoumi, Takakeisho and Shodai.
Since then one of our favourites to win the title, (newly promoted to) Ozeki Shodai, suffered a defeat against Daieisho and has now withdrawn from play.
Of the 10 highlighted rikishi, only the following 3 now remain with a perfect 6-0 tournament record:
- Ozeki, Takakeisho.
- Komusubi, Terunofuji.
- Maegashira #14, Chiyonokuni
As for the other 6 rikishi:
Shimanoumi is on a 5-1 record after losing to Ichinojo (2-4) on Day 6.
Hoshoryu (3-3) has lost all of his subsequent matches since Day 3 – losing to Chiyotairyu (4-2) on Day 4, Chiyoshoma (3-3) on Day 5 and Tokushoryu (4-2) on Day 6.
Kotoeko currently has a 4-2 record after losing to Terutsuyoshi (2-4) on Day 5 and Tochinoshin on Day 6 (3-3).
Endo has had a decent start to the November meet, with a tournament record of 4-2. His losses were to Takarafuji (5-1) on Day 5 and Kotoshoho (3-3) on Day 6. It’s vital for Endo to stem his losses over the next few days so as not to fall too far behind the perfect scoring yusho group.
Hokutofuji is another on a 4-2 record as of the end of play on Day 6. He lost on Day 5 and 6 to Terunofuji (6-0) and Takanosho (4-2) – both very tough opponents – respectively. As with Endo, Hokutofuji must return to winning form from Day 7 onwards to be in with a fighting chance for the yusho.
Okinoumi, also on a 4-2 tournament record, has suffered defeats to Komusubi Terunofuji (6-0) and Sekiwake Mitakeumi (4-2) on Days: 4 and 6.
For the direct yusho contenders, the next few days may prove crucial in terms of their ability to win the November tournament: Takakeisho will face Okinoumi (4-2) on Day 7, Terunofuji will fight Wakatakakage (1-5) and Chiyonokuni will be up against Hoshoryu (3-3). Takakeisho and Terunofuji ought to win both of their respective bouts, although Okinoumi appears to be in relatively decent form and there is also somewhat of an outside chance for a surprise win from Wakatakakage – keep in mind though that his only win of this basho so far, is a win by default after Asanoyama withdrew with an injury. Chiyonokuni will face a difficult opponent in Hoshoryu, however, it is noted that Hoshoryu has lost every bout since the last review (Day 3) and appears to be off form.
How will the yusho shape up going forward? It’s still too early to predict a winner of this tournament, however, the next few days could prove critical for the 3 top scoring rikishi, since a “silly” loss here and there would demote them into a swathe of rikishi who are closely following and on 4-2 records.
Join us again on Day 9 for another installment of MyDohyo’s 3-Day tournament review series, where we’ll have a closer look at the yusho contention group and attempt to draw some conclusions from their tournament form and experience so far to see which direction the title race might go!