With two-thirds of the basho in the books, I am bringing back the posts that outline what is still at stake for various sekitori. Most will move up or down a few slots while maintaining their overall division and named rank, but more is on the line for some rikishi—primarily those near the top and the bottom of the banzuke.
The Yusho Race
Kakuryu’s easy win over Chiyomaru takes him to 10-0 and the sole lead. Why, oh why, dear schedulers, did we not get to see the much more interesting Kakuryu-Kaisei matchup? Instead, in a heavyweight bout of the day that lived up to expectations, Kaisei gave his all but lost to Ichinojo, dropping him to 9-1, and one off the lead. After Goeido yet again showed himself unworthy of the Ozeki rank with his blatant henka against lower-ranked Tochinoshin, Ichinojo joins Takayasu in a very small and elite 8-2 chase group.
Tomorrow, we get the match of the day, and possibly the tournament: Kakuryu vs. Ichinojo. Almost as interesting is the undercard bout of Takayasu vs. Tochinoshin. Kaisei will attempt to keep pace when he takes on the struggling Takakeisho. [Goeido gets Shodai, which at least means he won’t henka again. –PinkMawashi]
With his eighth win today, Ichinojo locked up his place in sanyaku for another basho, and has a chance to move up from Komusubi to Sekiwake, depending on how the last five days play out.
The other Komusubi, Chiyotairyu, is already make-koshi and will be vacating his slot. Where has the Chiyotairyu who absolutely blasted Tamawashi off the dohyo today been hiding this whole basho?
Despite his loss today, 7-3 Tochinoshin is likely to defend his Sekiwake rank—he needs one victory in the final five days. Less clear is the fate of struggling Mitakeumi, 5-5, who started his fade earlier this time around, and has lost 3 in a row.
If the basho were to end today, the open Komusubi slot would go to Kaisei. Also still in the running for promotion to sanyaku are the two M1’s, Endo and Tamawashi, who are both 5-5, followed closely by M4 Shohozan, 6-4.
The Demotion Zone
Most of the Makuuchi men are safe from demotion after ten days. Chiyoshoma, Ishiura, and Daiamami could use one more win each to be sure, while Ryuden, Tochiozan, and Aoiyama had better pick up one more win to stay in the top division. Nishikigi, Sokokurai and Myogiryu still need 3 additional wins. Onosho, who is kyujo, will be dropping to Juryo, where he will almost certainly be joined by Kotoyuki and Hidenoumi.
Who will take their places in the top division? Takekaze looks set for a return after a one-tournament absence. Sadanoumi is also making a strong case for promotion. Kyokutaisei, who just missed a promotion last time, is 5-5 and needs to secure his kachi-koshi to move up. There are also other contenders lower down in Juryo, who will get sorted out in the remaining days.