The yusho race
As we all know and I won’t belabor, the yusho race is now, well, a race. Hakuho will need to regroup tomorrow against Mitakeumi in order to ensure his lead, with the added incentive of avenging the one blemish on his Nagoya yusho.
What would already have been a huge bout between 8-3 Takayasu, who just erased his kadoban status and is once again a full-fledged Ozeki, and 9-2 Hokutofuji takes on added importance. Hokutofuji will want to keep pace in the yusho race as well as strengthen his San’yaku bid (see below). He won in his only previous meeting with Takayasu.
The other 9-2 pursuer, M12 Okinoumi, takes on none other than Aminishiki in an intriguing and surprisingly important bout.
The battle for the upper ranks
After today, we know we will have two Ozeki for Hatsu, but Goeido still needs one win to avoid becoming kadoban. He takes on Ichinojo in a “who knows what’s going to happen?” match. Surprisingly, their career record is even at 5-5.
Today’s victories by both Mitakeumi and Yoshikaze made it more likely that they will continue as Sekiwake. Mitakeumi needs just one win in the final four days, and will have his first shot at kachi-koshi against Hakuho. Yoshikaze still needs two wins, but has the easier task tomorrow when he meets Chiyonokuni.
Onosho’s loss today left him no room for error—he needs to win out to defend his Komusubi rank. Tomorrow, he takes on Chiyotairyu, which has serious brawl potential.
In the race to join San’yaku, there are only 3 likely contenders. Tamawashi and Hokutofuji kept pace today, while Takakeisho did not. Tomorrow’s Tamawashi-Takakeisho bout looms large!
The battle for Makuuchi
While the battle for the upper ranks got clearer today, that for who will be in the top division got muddier. Among the demotion candidates in Makuuchi, Daimami, Kotoyuki, Asanoyama, and Takekaze won, while Nishikigi, Aoiyama, and Myogiryu lost. Aoiyama, Daiamami, and Nishikigi now need to win 3 out of 4, Takekaze and Myogiryu need 2 wins, and Kotoyuki and Asanoyama should be safe with another win (Daieisho and Daishomaru could each also use another win to be assured of staying in the top division).
Tomorrow’s matches that affect demotion chances are Aoiyama-Kotoyuki, Daiamami-Ikioi, Endo-Myogiryu, Takekaze-Chiyomaru, Chiyoshoma-Nishikigi, Asanoyama-Tochinoshin, Takarafuji-Daieisho, and Shohozan-Daishomaru.
Down in Juryo, Sokokurai won to go to 10-1, and is likely one win away from cementing his promotion. Ishiura, Yutakayama and Abi are next in line, and need two wins apiece. Ryuden and Kyokutaisei round out the list of those with a realistic shot at promotion. The big Juryo bouts between contenders tomorrow are Kyokutaisei-Ishiura and Sokokurai-Yutakayama.