The Yusho Race
Yokozuna Hakuho (10-0) leads by 2 over Sekiwake Tamawashi and M15 Chiyonokuni. The latter was injured today and seems likely to withdraw, ending his dark-horse campaign. Hakuho will face returning Komusubi Mitakeumi tomorrow, most likely followed by a pivotal bout against Tamawashi on Day 12. The Yokozuna has prevailed in all 13 of their prior meetings.
Takayasu (5-5) needs to pick up three victories in five days, starting with his bout against Okinoumi tomorrow. His remaining opponents include Mitakeumi, Hakuho, and Goeido, plus one rank-and-filer (Aoiyama?). Goeido (4-6) needs four more victories against a lineup of Aoiyama, Takakeisho, Hakuho, Takayasu, and a maegashira opponent (Chiyotairyu?). Who makes it and who doesn’t could come down to the Ozeki clash on Day 13.
Takakeisho’s Ozeki Run
The Sekiwake’s promotion hopes took a hit today with his third loss (to Takayasu). He can probably only afford one more. The good news is that he’s fought most of his upper-rank opponents already, with only Goeido and Hakuho still to face. But his bout against Hokutofuji tomorrow is must-win, as are his remaining maegashira matchups (Kotoshogiku and Okinoumi?).
Tamawashi has successfully defended his Sekiwake rank with today’s victory, and Takakeisho needs one more win to do so. Struggling Myogiryu needs four victories to stay Komusubi, but has only Tamawashi plus maegashira opponents still to face. Mitakeumi needs three, but has much the tougher fight card as a result of his absence: probably Hakuho, Takayasu, Tochiozan, Ichinojo, and Nishikigi. Ichinojo is currently first in line for any open slots, followed closely by Hokutofuji.
If the tournament ended today, Daishomaru and Daiamami would be going down (and both are near-certain to do so in the end), while Terutsuyoshi, Ishiura, Chiyomaru, and Toyonoshima would be coming up. More slots could be opened by Kotoyuki, Kagayaki, and Chiyoshoma, who need strong finishes to avoid putting their top-division fates in the hands of the banzuke committee.