Day 15: 5 More Yusho


Aki has been so wacky, sometimes it’s easy to forget the other five yusho races happening below Makuuchi! So let’s take stock of where we’re at in the lower divisions, heading into the final day.

Juryo

As has been detailed, the yusho here comes down to the final day’s action and we may see a playoff. Kotoyuki (10-4) has it all in his hands. It’s nice to see both him and his stablemate Kotoshogiku turn it around and post competitive tournaments, having dropped down the banzuke to different degrees. Kotoyuki will almost certainly be back in the top division in Kyushu, but his road to the yusho runs through Abi, who is sitting one win behind, at 9-5.

Aminishiki, Daiamami, Kyokushuho, and Homarefuji are also in the hunt for a playoff should Kotoyuki lose, and none of them face each other. Of those four matches, Daiamami’s bout against Osunaarashi should be especially well contested as a 10th loss for the Egyptian would put his sekitori status in serious jeopardy. To summarize:

Kotoyuki wins vs Abi: yusho
Kotoyuki loses vs Abi: definite playoff, with as many as six rikishi in contention.

Makushita

Two years ago, Kagamio was a mid-table Maegashira fighting against the likes of Tamawashi and Kaisei. This time, he takes the Makushita yusho for Kagamiyama-beya without needing a playoff, courtesy of his win over the younger and much heralded Mitoryu, who may now have a chance to make it to Juryo by Hatsu 2018. This is his second career yusho, having won the Juryo prize back at Natsu 2015.

Sandanme

The only division below Juryo that will definitely go to a playoff, Tachiai regular Enho of Miyagino-beya (fighting at Sandanme 18) will face off against the less heralded Matsuda of Minezaki-beya (fighting at Sandanme 82). Enho’s zensho streak is now at 3 and we will see him in Makushita in a couple months’ time regardless of the outcome. None of Matsuda’s opponents came from the top half of the division and he even gained a win by knocking Jonidan 34 Tokuda from the Jonidan yusho race, so on balance you’d make Enho the strong favorite.

Jonidan

18 year old Narutaki of Isenoumi-beya has won his first yusho from the depths of Jonidan 63. His previous best finish was a playoff loss at Jonokuchi level at Hatsu 2017. He only had to face one opponent in the upper half of the division, but at the same time all of his opponents bar one finished with a kachi-koshi. The yusho was won on Day 13 in a winner-take-all frantic showdown against Hokuyozan which lasted about 30 seconds.

Jonokuchi

My pre-basho pick and Tachiai favorite Wakaichiro’s stablemate Shoji of Musashigawa-beya swept all comers to his 7-0 record, and has wrapped up the yusho. Realistically his stiffest challenge came from fellow debutants Torakio and Sumidagawa.

11 thoughts on “Day 15: 5 More Yusho

  1. Enho should win but it will be interesting to see him face off against someone with a similar physique: Matsuda is 5 10 and a little over 200 pounds which puts him firmly in the stringbean category as sumo wrestlers go.

    I’ve been keeping pretty close tabs on the juryo this time around. The much heralded Yago has been a disappontment and some of the recent demotees like Gagamaru, Toyohibiki and Sokokurai have really struggled and will need to buck up their ideas in November if they want to stay in the division. The Nagoya winner Daiamami has looked good and should get a promotion if he beats poor old Osunaarashi tomorrow. It’s unfortunate that “Daiamami” sounds to English ears like something you would shout at a stranger if you really wanted to start a fight with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it’s really interesting because a lot of our discussion on this site has been about the thinning of the established herd at the top of the banzuke, but it’s possible we may see a lot of familiar names start to really slide out at the bottom. Gagamaru has been awful for some time now having picked up double digit losses in 5 of his last 10 tournaments – but this is the first time it’s happened at Juryo level. I really do not understand the purpose of his sumo. He’s less forceful than Aoiyama and more ponderous than Ichinojo, and a less effective bowling ball than Takakeisho. Sokokurai does not seem to have recovered at all from being bullied by the San’yaku in Osaka and is in free fall. And these are guys Toyohibiki can seem to beat!

      I really hope Osunaarashi can keep it together and keep himself in Juryo and try to pull himself back up. It’s a shame to see his physical deterioration at such a young age.

      It appears Yago and Kizenryu are going straight back down and will likely be joined by Kitaharima. Right now you’d think Takagenji, Tobizaru and Masunosho would be the ones coming up. If there is a fourth promotion, surely it’d be Kitataiki coming back up.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Here in SoCal, it sounds like a rude catcall someone would yell at a woman walking down the other side of the street.

        My least favorite name right now in English is Mks #16 Wakatakakage. It always looks like a typo.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for all the updates on the lower divisions! The more English commentary the better, since it’s a combination of future favorites moving up and old favorites moving down.

    Gagamaru isn’t quite down to Orora levels of useless ponderousness, but I really don’t know what’s going on with him. There seems to be a lot of KT tape going around in Juryo, so maybe the physical deterioration is a real problem, even with the younger guys.

    I was mildly cursing Abi’s win yesterday, but now I’ll be cheering him on today to play the spoiler and open up the race for the championship.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No problem – glad it is appreciated. It seemed like something we should start to pay more attention to, and I’m only too happy to contribute. And yes especially here in SoCal, basically by the time we get to the previous day’s highlights, the next day’s lower divisions are already done! So it can be difficult to keep up.

      Re: Gagamaru, for a minute given that he’s 30 I really questioned what the point is given his current level of physical ability (and he can’t have good knees), but given that he’s going to be dining out on some kinboshi money for the rest of his career maybe it starts to make sense. Thanks Harumafuji!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, I think if he dropped some weight and got his balance back in gear, he could be one of those old guys riding out the lower divisions for years. Though I wonder how worthwhile that is for foreigners, I’d assume that they’d retire after going down to makushita. I always wonder why the 35+ rikishi stay on in the lowest divisions, I guess they really love the sport no matter what.

        Like

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