The Yusho Race
The torikumi committee’s Kaisei gambit didn’t pay off, as Kakuryu had the big Brazilian down on the dirt in a fraction of a second in a highly anticlimactic bout. In retrospect, Mitakeumi might have given the Yokozuna a bigger challenge. As it is, Kakuryu (12-1) now leads Takayasu, Kaisei, and Ikioi by 2 wins with two days to go.
Tomorrow, the Yokozuna can clinch the yusho with a victory against Goeido. Their career record (27-12) favors Kakuryu by slightly more than 2:1, and he has the big prize on the line, while Goeido is fighting for (ahem) pride, so I’d give the Yokozuna even better odds. Should he lose, and if any of the chasers win, then Kakuryu would need to beat Takayasu, against whom he’s 12-6, on senshuraku to avoid a playoff. [We at Tachiai.org are not betting against the Yokozuna. –PinkMawashi]
On Day 14, Takayasu faces Mitakeumi, who took advantage of the schedulers’ gift to break a 5-match losing streak and get an all-important 6th win, and who will be highly motivated to try to hang on to his rank, or at least a place in sanyaku. Kaisei drops back into the maegashira ranks to face Daishomaru, while Ikioi goes up against Ishiura.
Tochinoshin picked up his 5th and arguably his worst loss of the tournament today, as he was simply beaten by Shodai in a belt battle – a huge letdown after yesterday’s huge win, perhaps? He faces Chiyomaru tomorrow and likely Ichinojo on senshuraku, and needs to win both to carry a credible Ozeki run into Natsu. Ichinojo went meekly today against Shohozan, and seems satisfied with his 8 wins, which should see him at Sekiwake if Mitakeumi loses another bout.
With his win today, and losses by Kaisei and Tamawashi, Endo takes a clear lead in the race for the first open sanyaku slot. This is Endo’s first kachi-koshi in ten tries from a rank of M4 or higher, and we may finally see him break through into the named ranks. He faces Hokutofuji tomorrow, and probably Shohozan, Shodai, or Abi on senshuraku.
Remaining intra-sanyaku bouts (my predictions for Day 15):
Day 14: Takayasu vs. Mitakeumi; Kakuryu vs. Goeido
Day 15: Tochinoshin vs. Ichinojo; Goeido vs. Mitakeumi; Kakuryu vs. Takayasu
The Demotion Zone
With his win today, Daiamami earned his kachi-koshi and a place in the top division for Natsu. Tochiozan still needs a win, Nishikigi lost today and needs one or two, while Myogiryu staved off demotion with a win but still needs to win out.