Kyushu State of Play, Day 10

Kyushu Day 10

The Yusho Race

Takakeisho leads with 9 wins. Tomorrow, he faces fading Tochiozan, against whom he is 5-1. After that, the biggest test for the young Komusubi is his one remaining upper-rank opponent, Ozeki Takayasu, who is one off the pace at 8-2. Takayasu leads the head-to-head 4-2, and the two have split their two most recent matches. If the schedulers stick to the usual pattern, we should be treated to this bout on Day 12, with the Ozeki set to battle Ichinojo on Day 11. In the final three days, Takayasu should face Tochinoshin, Mitakeumi, and Goeido, probably in that order, while Takakeisho has only maegashira opponents remaining. Going by rank, he would face Tamawashi, Nishikigi, and Yoshikaze, although it’s possible that the schedulers will pit him against some of the lower-ranked yusho contenders instead.

Currently, the 8-2 chase group also includes M9 Daieisho, M12 Aoiyama, and M13 Onosho. None are matched up tomorrow. Today’s results have culled the two-off-the-pace hunters to Ozeki Goeido (no comment) and M11 Okinoumi.

The Ozeki Corps

Takayasu has secured his kachi-koshi and is looking for more. Goeido seems set to secure his by cough any means necessary. Tochinoshin got a much-needed victory today against Ichinojo to even his record to 5-5, and now needs to go 3-2 or better the rest of the way to avoid going kadoban. This seems doable against a fight card that starts with Chiyotairyu tomorrow, followed most likely by Asanoyama, his two fellow Ozeki, and Mitakeumi.

The Sanyaku Ranks

We can finally pour one out for Mitakeumi’s Ozeki run, as his loss today means he can’t mathematically get to 33 wins over three tournaments. At 5-5, he needs to worry about defending his Sekiwake rank instead, and still has to face all three Ozeki. His defense starts against Yoshikaze tomorrow, followed likely by Chiyotairyu before the Ozeki gauntlet.

Sekiwake Ichinojo’s record stands at 3-7, leaving no further room for error. It seems unlikely that he can pull off a second consecutive 5-0 escape act with two Ozeki and Kaisei still on his schedule. In fact, it’s more probable that he picks up two or more losses and relinquishes his sanyaku position after five straight basho.

Takakeisho is obviously in no danger of demotion, and is almost certain to become Sekiwake in the new year. Game but injured Kaisei has only three victories and, like Ichinojo, is highly unlikely to run the table and save his Komusubi rank.

So while nothing is set in stone yet, two sanyaku slots are likely to open up, and three wouldn’t surprise me. The leading contenders to fill these slots sit right at the top of the maegashira rankings, with M2e Tochiozan and M2w Tamawashi, both 6-4, currently holding a narrow edge over M1e Myogiryu and M1w Hokutofuji, both 5-5.

Demotion Danger

The M16 duo of Arawashi (1-9) and Chiyomaru (2-8) is already make-koshi and headed down to Juryo barring a combination of remarkable turnaround and extreme banzuke luck. As of now, they would be joined by M13 Takonosho (3-7) and M11 Chiyonokuni (2-8), who need strong finishes to avoid demotion. The next-worst position belongs to M14 Daishomaru (4-6). M15 Daiamami (5-5) and M14 Chiyoshoma (5-5) could use a couple of victories apiece, while one should be enough for M15 Meisei (6-4) and the M10 duo of Sadanoumi and Yutakayama, both 4-6.

Down in Juryo, J1e Yago (6-4) and J5w Terutsuyoshi (8-2) are currently on track to make their Makuuchi debuts, while J1w Kotoeko (6-4) and J3e Kotoyuki (7-3) are in good position for a return to the top division, but a lot can still change in the remaining five days.

20 thoughts on “Kyushu State of Play, Day 10

  1. There’s nothing to show that Goeido is injured, but I don’t see how else he’d do what he did in the past two days otherwise. If that’s not the case, I have no ideas.

    • Why can’t he just be a wily veteran who decided he’d rather not face a freight train? I now the Tachiai crowd think he’s some sort of criminal who is a disgrace for the henkas, but I prefer to think of him as a wily veteran who understands the brutal nature of the sport and is using his brain as well as his brawn. Get KK, then rest for January where he has a decent shot at being in contention. It’s smart sumo imho.

      • That doesn’t work at Ozeki. At Ozeki you are supposed to be the second strongest. An M5 with not a single physical advantage over you and a lot less experience is not something you are supposed to be chicken about. A wily veteran is someone like Aminishiki or Takekaze – past their 35th year. Someone who uses his brain to cover for his disadvantages? Well, I can see that in Chiyoshoma, and of course the little pixies.

        But an Ozeki? How many people here wished Terunofuji would drop dead when he did the same to Kotoshogiku, who was much stronger than Asanoyama is now?

        Besides, to win the adjective “wily”, you need to show real smarts in your sumo. Set up clever traps. Be able to recover when your first plan doesn’t work. Know how to spell “Yusho” correctly. Goeido is not really in this category.

      • Some fans think wily veteran ozeki are supposed to go down fighting, like Kotoshogiku… Not me though. To be honest I’m cheering for a henka threepeat. If two in a row is unexpected imagine how surprising three in a row will be!

        (Amusingly Kotoshogiku felt no compunction about using the henka against Goeido during Wacky Aki. Gave him a good dame oshi too.)

      • No one has called Goeido a criminal save yourself. We have expressed grave disappointment. But the thesis is sound. In the past when Goeido starts performing this way in matches, it indicates an injury. I would not be surprised to see that his ankle is poorly once more.

      • Exactly this kind off comments/writings that i find off-putting. We get that you don’t like him, there is no problem with that, but it would be great if the language stays clean. I find that more and more the toxic language of many internet communities that, so far avoided Tachiai, are creeping in at an alarming. rate.

        • I interpreted the comment as simply saying she thinks the problem is with Goeido’s mindset. I can see how the phrasing lends itself to interpretations that might fairly be described as toxic but I don’t think that was the intention.

  2. A non-Goeido comment if I may(!), really sad to see Chiyonokuni dropping down the banzuke like a stone, at this rate he will go from M4 to Juryo in 2 tournaments.

    Given Arawashi is already M16 and has only won 1, how far down into Juryo will he drop if that state of affairs remains? J7 or J8?

  3. I assume that there must be some reason why Arawashi doesn’t simply drop out of this basho. He’s risking further injury to himself by continuing to participate and he provides virtually no competition for his opponents. Wouldn’t everyone (and sumo itself) be best served by having him exit and bringing someone up from Juryo to take his place?

    • Completely agree he should drop out. If he worsens his injury he could end up in Makushita if he can’t compete effectively next basho.

      I think that if he drops out that would actually end the need to bring up rikishi from juryo as it would mean there would again be an even number of rikishi actively competing in makuuchi

      • Presumably he’s hoping to pick up a lucky win or two and cushion the size of his demotion, but it does seem misguided.

        • My assumption is losses are better than “no shows” because of injury. It’s weird to think that he won’t drop as far simply by showing up, but given how fast Terunofuji plummeted down the banzuke I don’t blame Arawashi for showing up.

          • My experience with banzuke forecasting suggests this isn’t the case—there’s no consistent difference between a loss and an absence.


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