The Yusho Race
Ichinojo’s win over Hakuho had two major consequences, the first of which was to knock the Yokozuna out of yusho contention. Hakuho can still play spoiler though. I’m sure he’d love to prevail over Kakuryu in the senshuraku clash of the Yokozuna. Should he do so, and should Tochinoshin beat Ikioi, we will have a two-man playoff for all the marbles. Otherwise, it’s Kakuryu’s yusho. Hakuho holds a 39-6 career edge over Kakuryu, while Tochinoshin has defeated Ikioi 7 times in 11 bouts.
Day 15: Tochinoshin vs. Ikioi, Hakuho vs. Kakuryu
The other consequence of Ichinojo’s victory is that we know he and Mitakeumi will occupy the two Sekiwake slots in Nagoya. The two meet tomorrow, with only pride at stake.
However, there is still a lot to settle on senshuraku in terms of who will take over the two vacant Komusubi slots. Shodai remains in pole position, and can clinch promotion with a win over Tamawashi, simultaneously knocking the latter out of the race. Should Tamawashi prevail, he would get his kachi-koshi and claim one slot, with the other going either to Shodai, Shohozan if he beats Takarafuji, or Abi if he beats Yoshikaze and Shohozan loses. Should Tamawashi, Shohozan, and Abi all lose, going make-koshi and hence being ineligible for promotion, then four men would be in contention, in the following rank order: Kotoshogiku, Ikioi, Chiyonokuni, Kagayaki (with the last two facing each other). The highest-ranked member of this quartet to win should get the slot.
The Line Between Makuuchi and Juryo
Takekaze’s loss today will probably send him down to join his fellow elder statesman Aminishiki in Juryo. A loss tomorrow to Okinoumi will seal his fate. If he wins, he still needs to hope for at least two losses among the trio of Ishiura, Daiamami and Ryuden. Ishiura may have a lifeline in the form of a bout with Juryo visitor Kyokushuho, while Daiamami faces Ryuden in what could well be a playoff for the last spot in Makuuchi. Arawashi reached safety with today’s win, leaving Hokutofuji as the only other maegashira at less than 100% safety.
Kotoeko, Onosho and Meisei should all be in the top division in Nagoya, although Meisei’s loss today, which knocked him out of the Juryo yusho race, leaves him one win short of being guaranteed promotion. He’ll try again tomorrow against Kotoyuki. J5 Akiseyama has a slim chance of promotion if he beats Terutsuyoshi and things really go south for the men above trying to hang on to Makuuchi.