With only four days remaining, I thought I’d take a look at the likely promotion/demotion scenarios.
As we know, Terunofuji will be dropping to sekiwake in November (well, ozekiwake). He’ll either take one of the two normal sekiwake slots or force the creation of an extra one if both current sekiwake defend their rank (see below).
Yoshikaze is 7-4 and needs only one more win to get his kachi-koshi and defend his rank, so he is in a strong position. Not so for Mitakeumi, who is 5-6 and needs 3 wins to defend his rank, and probably 2 to keep from dropping out of sanyaku altogether.
Tamawashi is also 5-6 and needs 3 wins to defend his komusubi rank and extend his sanyaku streak. Tochiozan is in an even tougher position at 4-7 and needs to run the table to stay at komusubi.
At least one sanyaku slot is likely to open up, and possibly 2. The main candidates for promotion are none other than 7-4 M1 Kotoshogiku, after one basho back in the maegashira ranks, and 8-3 M3 Chiyotairyu, who is still mathematically in the yusho race. The outcome of their bout tomorrow will determine who is in the pole position for the first open sanyaku slot. Fading 7-4 M3 Onosho is next in line. And don’t sleep on M5 Takakeisho, who’s quietly worked his way into contention with a 7-4 record.
Down on the other end of the banzuke, M16 Asonoyama, M14 Endo, and M13 Kaisei are all safely in Makuuchi for another basho. M10 Takekaze, at 4-7, and M10 Nishikigi, at 5-6, each probably need one more win to secure their places in the top division (although this also depends on the currently underwhelming state of things down in Juryo—how many promotion candidates will there be?)
M14 Okinoumi (5-6) probably needs two more wins to lock down a top-division stay. M10 Ishiura (2-9) is in a deeper hole, needing to go 3-1, and M15 Yutakayama (4-7) needs to win out.
M12 Sadanoumi (0-6-5) came back from kyujo for nought, and will be down in Juryo in November, as will M15 Tokushoryu (2-9), who should have been there for Aki.
Who is the frontrunner to return to Makuuchi, you ask? Why, it’s uncle (grandfather?) sumo, Aminishiki!