It all came down to this match. Either rookie Tobizaru would outwit his much larger foe and force a play-off, or Sekiwake Shodai would take the most direct route to his long sought-after first Makuuchi championship title. When all was said and done, Tobizaru seemed to be thrilled just to have the chance to play challenger. He would not have been in the position after all had there been a stacked card full of Yokozuna and worthy sanyaku.
As stated regularly, those types of tournaments will become fewer and fewer as the top level domination we’ve leaned on for the past decade fades into the background. Even the young Ozeki could not put together enough wins between the two of them to be present in the final. Will Shodai be any different at sumo’s second highest rank? His Ozeki resume is complete and convincing, acceptance speech at the ready. Can he rise to the task of being one of Japan’s national sports heroes?
The three of them will have big shoes (or ropes) to fill in the coming years…
|EAST||TALE OF THE TAPE||WEST|
|E. Sekiwake||Rank||E. Maegashira #14|
|6′ / 184cm||Height||5’9 / 175cm|
|370lbs / 170kg||Weight||289lbs / 131kg|
|N/A||Past Meetings (0)||N/A|
|12-2||Record this Basho||11-3|
Congratulations once again to Shodai on his first Emperor’s Cup and Ozeki promotion!