The Yusho Race
This is settled. Congratulations to Yokozuna Kakuryu.
At least a share of the jun-yusho will go to the winner of tomorrow’s bout between Kaisei and Ikioi, both 11-3. Presumably at least the winner, and possibly both, will also get a special prize? The winner could be joined by Ozeki Takayasu if he can defeat the just-crowned champion in the final bout on senshuraku.
Mitakeumi battled valiantly today but came out on the losing side, dropping to 6-8 and relinquishing his Sekiwake rank. Hello, Sekiwake Ichinojo! Tomorrow, Mitakeumi will try to cushion his fall against Goeido. A win, and he drops to Komusubi. A loss, and he’s out of sanyaku altogether for the first time in seven tournaments.
Current (and future) Sekiwake Tochinoshin battles future Sekiwake Ichinojo tomorrow. Tochinoshin leads the career series 10-5, but it’s been very even recently. Both looked in good form today, and while the matchup is always one to look forward to, a double-digit win total is also on the line, as both men’s records stand at 9-5. For Tochinoshin, reaching double-digits would put him in a good position for promotion to Ozeki with a strong performance at Natsu. Ichinojo could get an Ozeki run of his own going with a third straight 10-win tournament. One final wrinkle: I’m not sure if a win by Ichinojo might jump him over Tochinoshin to the East side.
It seems like Endo’s 9th win today may have clinched his long-awaited promotion to the open Komusubi slot, though I’m not absolutely sure a 9-6 record at M1 beats a 12-3 record at M6 should Endo lose and Kaisei win tomorrow. Endo can make sure by beating Shohozan and reaching double-digits. The other Komusubi slot comes down to Mitakeumi (who would lock it up with a win), Kaisei, and Tamawashi, who takes on Chiyomaru.
These seem a little unpredictable. Does Tochinoshin get one for being the only one to get dirt on the yusho-winning Yokozuna? Kaisei, Ikioi, and Yutakayama would seem to have a claim with double-digit-win performances, and Daiamami and the winner of Abi–Daishomaru have a chance to join them.
The Demotion Zone
Today’s victory takes Tochiozan to safety. Myogiryu won today, but to stay out of Juryo, he must win again tomorrow against none other than Aminishiki, who remarkably has a chance at a top-division return with a victory. Nishikigi may or may not be able to save himself with a win, and his chances don’t look great against Chiyoshoma, who has looked much better and whom Nishikigi has yet to defeat in 4 attempts.
The three definite demotions are Sokokurai, Kotoyuki, and Hidenoumi. (Onosho’s fate is unclear, though a 0-0-15 record at M5 or lower usually leads to demotion.) The three definite promotions are Sadanoumi, Kyokutaisei, and Takekaze. Five or six additional men in Juryo have a shot with a win tomorrow.