We now start the last 5 days of sumo for 2016. It’s fascinating that Harumafuji and Kisenosato are stilled tied at the top of total wins for 2016, a tie that will be broken soon, possibly on day 11. After watching Kisenosato dismantle Hakuho on the NHK highlight reel, the accomplishment is ever more impressive. Again, the sumo Kisenosato brought to day 10 was some of the best I have seen in some time, and I think the fans in Fukuoka and watching around the world were amazed.
To be fair, Kisenosato finally laid bare the extent of Hakuho’s recovery from surgery this past September. It is clear that the Boss has been artfully keeping the true extent of the remaining weakness in his foot and knee hidden through outstanding technique and clever tactics. But Kisenosato brought a full power maneuver battle to day 10, and in the end Hakuho lost.
But there are some really ugly questions left to resolve. First and foremost in my mind is how badly will this end for Takayasu. Mathematically, he cannot even reach 10 wins this basho. Had he gotten 10, his Ozeki run would have carried forward to Hatsu in January. But now the best he can hope for is 9, and that requires him defeating at least 2 Yokozuna. Realistically he is going make-koshi, and headed down in rank, at least to Komusubi for January. If he somehow manages 9, he remains Sekiwake – but his Ozeki count to 33 starts over again at zero.
Speaking of which, we can start to see who will advance, and who will be demoted for January. In short, it’s a Makuuchi blood bath:
- Day 10 Makuuchi Kachi-koshi : Kakuryu, Harumafuji, Ishiura, Hakuho, Kisenosato, Arawashi
- Day 10 Makuuchi Make-Koshi : Okinoumi, Yoshikaze, Sadanoumi, Hidenoumi, Aoiyama, Kyokushuho, Kaisei
For Juryo – There is a lot more bunched up int he middle, showing that for Kyushu, Juryo is much more balanced than the upper division Makuuchi
- Day 10 Juryo Kachi-koshi : Osunaarashi, Seiro
- Day 10 Juryo Make-koshi : Tokushoryu, Asasekiryu, Sadanofuji
There is still time to derail the Osunaarashi Juryo Yusho train, but that mighty Egyptian locomotive shows no sign of slowing down.
Daishomaru vs Ichinojo – First time match up between these two, both of them in the middle of the pack pushing to exit Kyushu with a winning record. Both rikishi are at risk of demotion back to Juryo if they finish with losing records.
Chiyoshoma vs Sokokurai – Chiyoshoma bringing oshi-zumō vs Sokokurai’s yotsu-zumō. Their only prior meeting went to Chiyoshoma, but this is going to be an even match. I expect Sokokurai will prevail on this one.
Myogiryu vs Ishiura – Ishiura, please no mini-henka today. You are facing someone 6 steps up the banzuke, and everyone wants to see if you can handle the harder matches. The degree of your coming promotion is defined by the next 3 matches. This is the first match between these two.
Shohozan vs Takarafuji – These two are fairly even in Kyushu, but historically Takarafuji has yet to win against Shohozan in any of their prior 6 matches.
Ikioi vs Shodai – Winner is kachi-koshi from this bout. Slight edge to Shodai on this, they have only faced each other 3 times. They will be slapping each other around for a few seconds, grapple and figure out the winner.
Day 11 Battle of the Sanyaku Fleet
Goeido vs Terunofuji – First, a resurgent Terunofuji facing a very inconsistent Goeido. Goeido was back to his winning ways, and in good form on day 10. Terunofuji, though still injured, seems to be in very competitive form. Terunofuji, once he gets set, is very tough to move. He has legs like tree trunks and a back that could lift an ox. To win, Goeido needs to take him off balance in the first few seconds before he can get his stance planted, and his attack underway.
Harumafuji vs Kotoshogiku – Kotoshogiku make-koshi today. I am hoping that Harumafuji uses him to practice the kind of sumo he deployed on day 10. Statistically a slight edge to Kotoshogiku, with history showing a 33-27 lifetime between the two. But let’s get serious, Kotoshogiku is going make-kochi, and will once again be kadoban.
Hakuho vs Takayasu – Chances are very small that Takayasu can rally and defeat Hakuho, in spite of the fact that Kisenosato showed his stable mate Takayasu the recipe. Takayasu is still very capable, but he is likely going back to Komusubi with a 7-8 record.
Kisenosato vs Kakuryu – Likely the highlight match of the day. Career statistics, it’s advantage Kisenosato, 30-17. Kakuryu would love to go Zensho Yusho for the last match of 2016, and everyone is hoping that he can suffer at least one loss to open up the yusho race. Kakuryu will have watched the Hakuho match multiple times, and will be studying this new fearsome, mobile Kisenosato.