First, the obvious sub-headline which has probably been beaten to death in the Japanese news cycle like a certain former ozeki:
After suffering a straight run of losses in January Hon Basho, to include getting a temporary dirt-nap from the hands of fellow veteran Kaio, the former Ozeki is hanging up his mawashi to assume coaching duties under the name “Sanoyama” at his home stable, the Kokonoe-beya.
Considering his ozeki record over the years, where he fought 14 tournaments under the “do or die” kadoban status (where he was under the threat of demotion) he had a tenuous grasp on his championship at best.
Day Four was also noteworthy in that all five ozeki handed up losses to either komusubi or the “rank and file” maegashira rikishi.
The upper-level recap:
Kakuryu (WK/2-2) v. Kotooshu (EO/3-1) - The Bulgarian Ozeki was tossed down with an impressive shitatenage as Kakuryu forced him off balance by maneuvering Kotooshu, keeping his leg off the ground. The gravity of this situation caught up with Kotooshu soon enough, as Kakuryu ably gave him a right good dusting!
Kotogoshiku (EK/1-3) very surprisingly denied Kaio (WO/2-2) his 809th Makuuchi win, a surprise considering his less-than-stellar record against Kaio in previous basho: he came out of the tachi-ai with excellent momentum, giving the Ozeki a quick escort over the tawara.
Baruto (ES/3-1) … wins by default of Chiyotaikai’s retirement. I’m curious as to how (or if) a Juryo rikishi will be moved into the 16th slot…
UPDATE:Tokusegawa (EJ1/1-3) will be facing the Sanyaku rikishi sooner than he might have expected.
Toyonoshima (EM1/1-3) flung (WO/3-1) Harumafuji out of the ring, very narrowly beating him to the dirt on the way down. The close call in “who hit dirt first” required a conference of the shinpan.
I have to hand it to Toyo- getting someone Haru’s size completely airborne, even accounting for existing momentum is no easy task!
Tochinoshin (WM1/1-3) snagged his only win in the basho thus far, against Kotomitsuki (EO/0-4). This might be noteworthy, if not for Kotomitsuki’s appalling winless record. The “Gorgeous Georgian” will need to step it up a notch or three if he has his eyes set on a komusubi promotion. And if that promotion comes at a cost to Kotomitsuki falling under the Kadoban… eeegh.
The two Yokozuna had themselves some Maegashira to snack on - with both of them keeping spotless 4-0 records.
Asashoryu wasted exactly no time blasting the massive Miyabiyama (WM2/1-3) across the tawara, and maybe well on his way to vindicating himself against the noisy claims of some sectors of the Japanese press that would have us regard him as being lazy or irresponsible for having had a day or two off during the pre-basho training.
Hakuho likewise made short work of the feisty Goeido (EM2/1-3) with a crushing yoritaoshi.
I haven’t been paying close attention to the lower half of the Makuuchi, and I wouldn’t have gave this any particular notice aside from waking up at 2:30am or so to catch the near last of these matches (I did but Aran (WM10/3-1) gave Kokkai (EM9/1-3) a rather impressive uwatenage (overarm throw), setting the stage for his return to the upper Maegashira ratings in the March Haru-Basho, if he can keep making wins …
…and Asasekiryu(EM8/3-1) cashed Mokonami’s (WM11/1-3) check at the First Bank of Yoritaoshi… and sadly, I fell asleep again. Blast and double drat at the late, late time difference from here to Japan….
For the complete Day 4 Makuuchi scorecard, click here.