Heading into the final week of the basho, here’s where things stand.
The yusho race
Mitakeumi leads with 8 wins, followed by Endo and Asanoyama with 7 apiece and Takayasu, Chiyotairyu, and Tochiozan with 6. With seven days to go and no proven winners, it’s anyone’s game, and I wouldn’t even rule out the nine-strong 5-win group.
The upper ranks
Given the decimation of the upper ranks, 6-2 Takayasu and 5-3 Goeido seem very likely to pick up the 8 wins they need to clear their kadoban status. Sadly, injured Tochinoshin will be kadoban at Aki, although a healthy Tochinoshin should have little trouble achieving kachi-koshi in September.
With Mitakeumi driving for the yusho and the start of an Ozeki run, he has already met his basic goal of 8 wins, thereby ensuring that he will remain Sekiwake at Aki. At 5-3 and with only one tough opponent left to face (Takayasu tomorrow), Tamawashi is in good shape to defend his Komusubi rank, and possibly move up to Sekiwake. On the other hand, Shohozan, even with easier bouts coming up, seems unlikely to go 7-0 after starting 1-7, which is what it would take for him to remain in San’yaku. And 3-5 Ichinojo better wake up fast if he is to pick up the 5 wins required to remain Sekiwake, or even the 4 he needs to only get demoted to Komusubi. And he’ll have to do it against the toughest part of his schedule.
Endo is currently in the best position to take advantage of any San’yaku openings, with Takakeisho, Chiyonokuni, Kaisei and Chiyotairyu also in the mix.
The demotion danger zone
The two newcomers to Makuuchi are in serious trouble, having managed only 2 wins apiece. M16w Meisei, ranked at the very bottom of the top division, need to go 6-1 to avoid an immediate return to Juryo, while M14e Kotoeko has a little more breathing room, needing 5 more victories.
The rest of the M14-M16 crew is in decent shape, all having gone 4-4 so far, but because of their low rank, Hokutofuji, Ryuden, Ishiura and Okinoumi can’t rest on their laurels, and need 3-4 more wins to reach safe harbor. Joining them in this position are 3-5 Arawashi and 1-7 Kyokutaisei, while Chiyomaru, Sadanoumi and Aoiyama need two apiece, as does winless :( Yoshikaze, who sadly seems to have really hit a wall this basho.
Four men down in Juryo are currently in the best position to move up to the top division in September: Makuuchi regulars Takanoiwa, Aminishiki and Kotoyuki, as well as possible newcomer Takanosho.
5 thoughts on “Nagoya Nakabi Report”
I am going to stick my neck out and say that I am looking for Takanoiwa back in the top division at Aki. Maybe Uncle Sumo as well. But I also expect Aki to be where the YDC try to draw the line with Kisenosato, and possibly Hakuho. This September has the possibility of being a raging prairie fire of sumo.
No don’t go thinking I want “The Boss” gone, but I get the impression that some elements of the YDC want to put pressure on him, knowing he yearns to stay in sumo until 2020.
Takanoiwa is a safe bet; he should be promoted with 2 more wins, so he’d really have to collapse. Given that Hakuho completed the May basho, and stayed in contention till late in the tournament, I don’t see any lines being drawn any time soon; now Kisenosato is a completely different story. Worth remembering that Hakuho has three yusho (!!!) during the time period after Kisenosato last finished a tournament.
I am just hoping that the kadoban ozeki do actually survive this and Mitakeumi DOESN’T GET INJURED in the next seven days. Given the circumstances, everything else is gravy.
Do we have any insight into what is ailing former Ozeki Yoshikaze? He seems like a changed man compared to his prime and is just dropping, dropping, dropping…
As I’ve said before, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Kotoeko; he may bounce back down to Juryo, but he’ll be back.
I hope when Takanoiwa makes his top-division return, it isn’t with a cloud over his head…