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.