Forecasting the remaining sanyaku bouts

Edit: Day 10 match is as predicted. Mitakeumi’s loss on day 9 should make the discussion of day 13-15 options academic, so I’m striking through the “Mitakeumi is in contention” predictions.

There are seven days left in the basho, and ten bouts have yet to take place between sanyaku opponents. This likely means four days with one bout each, and then two bouts on each of the last three days. The schedulers will want the most exciting and/or highest rank match-ups to take place later in the basho, so it’s possible to hazard a guess at the bouts we’ll get each day.

Day 9: Goeido vs. Tamawashi. This is already on the torikumi, and the bout isn’t especially high-profile with both rikishi struggling (each is 1-3 in their last four matches).

Day 10: Takayasu vs. Tamawashi. The least interesting remaining match-up, for the same reasons as the one above.

Day 11: Kakuryu vs. Onosho. Onosho has rebounded from his rough start. We’ll see if he can pose any sort of challenge to the Yokozuna’s yusho hopes.

Day 12: Kakuryu vs. Tamwashi. Is Tamawashi injured? He looked more like his old self today against Kotoshogiku. That Tamawashi could trouble Kakuryu.

For the last three days, the schedule probably depends on whether or not Mitakeumi is still in yusho contention. If he is, the schedulers should save his bout against Kakuryu for senshuraku. If he drops off the pace, they will favor the higher-rank bouts.

Day 13, Mitakeumi is in contention: Goeido vs. Mitakeumi, Takayasu vs. Kakuryu.

Day 13, Mitakeumi drops off the pace: Goeido vs. Takayasu, Mitakeumi vs. Kakuryu.

Day 14, Mitakeumi is in contention: Mitakeumi vs. Takayasu, Goeido vs. Kakuryu.

Day 14, Mitakeumi drops off the pace: Goeido vs. Mitakeumi, Takayasu vs. Kakuryu.

Day 15, Mitakeumi is in contention: Goeido vs. Takayasu, Mitakeumi vs. Kakuryu.

Day 15, Mitakeumi drops off the pace: Mitakeumi vs. Takayasu, Goeido vs. Kakuryu.

11 thoughts on “Forecasting the remaining sanyaku bouts

  1. Great run down! I’m hoping Mitakeumi can stay in it, a senshuraku match between him and Kakuryu would be something else. They’re fairly matched, with Kakuryu holding a 3-2 lead in their series.

    What do you think will happen if Kakuryu takes one or two losses over the next few days?

  2. It would indeed be awesome to have a senshuraku match for all the marbles! And it would signal the start of a serious Ozeki run by Mitakeumi.

    If Kakuryu takes some losses, I guess it’s a question of who else might be in contention, and how the schedulers opt to deal with them…I’m kind of assuming this won’t happen, but if Daieisho, for instance, gets to, say, 11-1, he might have to be matched up with the upper ranks.

  3. I predict that Mitakeumi will face Kakuyru on Day 13 no matter what. Well, I suppose that might change if Takayasu or Goeido pulls out. But things are generally done by rank, in that the last bout of the tournament will have the highest ranked rikishi against someone of the highest possible rank regardless of how well they’re doing. The time when there were 6 Ozeki they were a bit adventurous to try to get the best Ozeki against Hakuho on Day 15, but they wouldn’t skip over Ozeki to make it against a Sekiwake. We didn’t get 4 Yokozuna for them to try to arrange the order of their matches in a meaningful way, and there were a lot fewer options when there were only 3 Yokozuna, and none when there were 2.

    I have no particular opinion on which day Onosho will face Kakuryu, but obviously Tamawashi will face Takayasu on the day among 10 and 11 that it does not happen. I had thought that Onosho would face Kakuryu on Day 9 to finish off the Komusubi matches first, but that didn’t happen.

  4. Just a thought experiment: If (a very hypothetical if) Mitakeumi gets teh emperors cup with his one loss he has today, going 14-1, do you thing it would be enough for Ozeki promotion? His last results would be 8, 9 and 14 wins for a total of 31 wins, including a yusho. Would that be enough to secure promotion, or do you think they would keep him at Sekiwake?

    My humble opinion: They would promote him, if only to enable back to back yushos by a japanese born wrestler in march.

    • It could happen. Chiyonofuji was promoted to Ozeki after winning the 1981 Hatsu Yusho, as was Akebono when he won the 1992 Natsu Yusho. Both men had only been Sekiwake for two Basho prior to their promotions.

    • Basho stats fairy to the rescue!

      I don’t think it’s likely, based on the numbers. Here are the rikishi who have gained an Ozeki promotion on a three-basho record of 31 wins or worse; here are the ones who got 31 wins or better but weren’t promoted. While the lists are about the same length, note that the last rikishi to be promoted based on a 31-win record was back in 1985.

  5. I thought they always place the 2 highest ranked wrestlers as the last match on the last Sunday. So I would expect Kakuryu vs an Ozeki

    • You may well be right (@buddycthulhu makes the same argument). I’m curious if the schedule makers will stick with the usual plan if after day 12 Kakaryu is 12-0, Mitakeumi is 11-1, and everyone else is out of the running.

      • Keep in mind that the Day 13 torikumi is made after Day 11’s results.

        This is a bit different, but when Goeido zensho’d he didn’t face Endo on day 15 when Endo was the only one who could catch (5th ranked) Goeido, instead having the more normal match against (6th ranked) Kotoshogiku who had exactly 8 wins after Day 13 and thus had no motivation to win. Now this basho they don’t have enough sanyaku matches available to do the usual top 6 sanyaku soiroibumi with all sanyaku, but in that basho they considered it important enough of a tradition to not change it up when there was an alternate more compelling match. I believe it’s a similar thing for who exactly gets the last match of the tournament.

        Ok, Kak vs Mita might not necessarily be on Day 13 now that I think about it – they might delay it one day, swapping Takayasu and Mitakeumi, if it’s still close between Kak/Mita, and have it on Day 14 instead, but even that seems unlikely based on the tradition of having the top ranked guy take matches straight up the banzuke. But it’s far more likely than Kakuyru vs. Ozeki not being the last match of the tournament.

        • Of course, Onosho withdraws before he faces Kakuryu and makes there not be enough sanyaku matches to be done Day 13 to do the normal round-robin, so it’s likely we’ll see Mitakeumi-Kakuryu on Day 12. Not that it matters much any more.

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