Nagoya State of Play, Day 14

mitakeumi-tochiozan-finish

The yusho race

Congratulations to Sekiwake Mitakeumi on his well-deserved first yusho! This performance should surely earn a special prize (or two) as well. If we count his 9 wins as Komusubi at Natsu, he now has 22 over two basho, with a chance at a 23rd when he faces Yutakayama on senshuraku. This is a strong start to an Ozeki run, and I’m going to say that 11 wins at Aki will secure Mitakeumi sumo’s second-highest rank.

The two big surprises of the basho, Yutakayama and Asanoyama, have clinched at least a share of the jun-yusho, and only Hokutofuji has a chance of joining them (from M16, no less!) should he win and they both lose. I’m guessing the Yama Twins are in line for special prizes as well. In yet another bit of curious scheduling, they don’t face each other (and neither do the two Sekiwake).

The San’yaku promotion race

Ichinojo’s close victory over Goeido today means that he will not drop out of San’yaku. The only thing at stake when he faces fading Endo tomorrow is whether he switches spots with Tamawashi. So only one slot will open up. By defeating Ikioi, Takakeisho has placed himself in the driver’s seat, and can take his second spin at Komusubi with a victory tomorrow over Asanoyama. If he falters, Ikioi can pass him with a victory. Whether a 12-3 M9 Yutakayama would jump over a 9-6 M3 Takakeisho is doubtful. Everyone else is out of the running.

Demotions to and promotions from Juryo

The lists of demotion and promotion candidates narrowed considerably after today’s action. In particular, all the marginal promotion candidates in Juryo lost, leaving only the certain to advance Takanoiwa, Takanosho and Kotoyuki and the likely to advance Aminishiki. This of course means that at least 3 and at most 4 top-division rikishi will be demoted.

The two men going down to Juryo for sure are Meisei and Kotoeko. The only other three in danger of demotion, in order of how likely they are to take the trip down, are Arawashi, Ishiura and Yoshikaze. Aminishiki advances with a win or with a loss by Ishiura or Yoshikaze. Yoshikaze can hang on to a top-division slot by his fingernails by earning his second win of the basho against Shohozan, or by having Arawashi and Ishiura both lose. Other scenarios will be sorted out based on tomorrow’s results by this quartet.

21 thoughts on “Nagoya State of Play, Day 14

    • I think he would miss out with a loss and victories by both Yoshikaze and Ishiura. Any other scenario should ensure promotion.

  1. So we don’t get a sekiwake v sekiwake match in this tournament. I get the logic, as if Mitakeumi had lost today the showdown with Yutakayama on Sunday would have been a “brawl for it all”.

    With Ichinojo now facing the eminently beatable Endo instead of the Raging Bullfrog Mitakeumi, the one who loses out in all this is Tamawashi who may well find that the vacant slot he expected to fill has become occupied.

    Very much looking forward to the makuuchi debut of Takanosho and the return of Takanoiwa.

    • I thought they waited for day 14 results before scheduling day 15, which would make it even odder…

      • They don’t wait for the Day 14 results. They just don’t announce them until halftime in Makuuchi, which is why it may seem to an asleep American that they seem to come out after the bouts take place on Day 14. In the really old days this was the way they were always announced every day. Now they’re published earlier except for senshuraku. I don’t know why.

  2. SILLY QUESTION TIME. (This is quasi-appropriate since we suddenly have a sekiwake winning a yusho). Suppose you were told that the September basho was going to be won by a rank-and-filer. Who would you guess that wrestler would be? Kind in mind, it’s not the maegashira you’d like to see win, but, rather, who do think is most likely to climb out of the ranks and do the impossible.

    • Hmm, you’d want to look for someone who is skilled, healthy, and ranked far below their talent level, so that they can face weak opposition and fly below the radar. I think Yutakayama will be high up in the joi, where he took a bad beating last time around, and Asanoyama and Onosho will also be ranked fairly high, so if I had to pick, I’d go with Hokutofuji. Tochiozan wouldn’t be a crazy pick, if he continues to turn back the clock.

      • Aoiyama showed last year when he challenged for the yusho that he can suddenly hit an ultra genki streak, but no telling when that might happen!

    • Without knowing for sure what the banzuke will likely be with one day of matches to go, I’d say Onosho. Will still be quite underranked and appears to be over his injury. He may not have excelled this basho, but he did just about as well as I thought he did. I highly doubt he’ll be ranked high enough to face all the big guns.

      Shohozan, Kotoshogiku and Yoshikaze will probably be the most underranked, but their age makes them less likely to get better in the next two months compared to Onosho.

    • Kaisei went 12-3 in March. I think he could do it with a little more balance and footwork-turning speed. A sign he’s getting closer will be his first kinboshi or another 10+ honbasho.

    • It really depends how genki the likes of Yoshikaze, Kotoshogiku or Chiyoshoma will be. A genki Yoshikaze at M16 could really wreck havoc. Just a bit hard to envision after this basho. For Hokutofuji it will depend on how much more genki he can get. He only had 11-4 now at M16. If he can get back to his Kyushuu level, then I would definitely say him. Guess he will only go up to M8 or M9 now.

  3. It’s obviously a dumb question (well, you have to consider the source) but I agree for all the reasons you stated. Hokutofuji seems like choice de jour.

    • It’s Hokutofuji or Onosho for me. Neither is a likely champion yet, mind you, but Hokutofuji when healthy can beat just about anyone with his all-action style sumo, and Onosho is on the verge of evolving into a versatile, oshi/yotsu guy who will be able to exploit holes in opponents’ games.

      Hokutofuji staying healthy is a big question, precisely because of the awkward positions along the tawara that his style of sumo takes him, and Onosho might need another few bashos before he completes his transformation from a pure push-and-pull guy. But those are the two to keep an eye on.

  4. Fun facts: of the 22 rikishi who won yusho while ranked in sanyaku (not counting Mitakeumi — he hasn’t officially won yet because the basho’s not over):
    – 2 topped out at sekiwake
    – 8 topped out at ozeki (including Dreadnought-class ozeki Kaio)
    – 12 made it to yokozuna, including 5 dai-yokozuna: Taiho, Wajima, Kitanoumi, Akebono, and Takanohana

    • I’m guessing you’re counting Terunofuji as topping out as Ozeki, but I can easily imagine he finds his way back up the ranks and makes it to Yokozuna. I don’t find it likely, given how much damage his knees have probably taken, but I can imagine that he somehow manages to make a complete recovery like Tochinoshin.

      • buddy, that’s a nice scenario and I’d love to see it come to fruition, but I think the poor guy has been cursed by the sumo gods. It’s been one humongous downhill slide since the infamous henka vs. Kotoshogiku. The deities just don’t seem to want to forgive him.

      • I would like for Terunofuji to get a chance to show what he can do (even if I hated him for that Henka). But he is almost 27 now and I dont think he will come back this year. He will probably start his comeback at least from the bottom of Sandanme, but more likely from Jonokuchi.
        Tochinoshin only sat out/missed about a year and restarted in Makushita. Took him 4 straight victories back to Makuuchi. Terunofuji will probably need 6 or 7.
        He hope he can come back, but all the way to Yokozuna or even Ozeki would be pretty much a miracle.
        Given his injury history I think he will have to seek advice from his Senpai Aminishiki and adjust his sumo to put less strain on his knees.
        Whatever they do, I hope they will take all the time he needs to fully recover this time before putting him back on the dohyo.

    • Somewhat less fun: the most recent yokozuna to have won a yusho in sanyaku was Wakanohana III. Since then: all ozeki. If Mitakeumi can make yokozuna he’ll be making history too.

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