Hatsu Storylines, Day 13

Tamawashi crushing … a pastry bag

The Yusho Race

Sekiwake Tamawashi is the sole leader with 11 victories, followed by Yokozuna Hakuho and Sekiwake Takakeisho with 10 apiece. The four 9-win rikishi—M8 Kaisei, M9 Endo, M10 Abi, and M11 Sadanoumi—are still in the race mathematically, but would need two losses by the leader and at least one by both Hakuho and Takakeisho just to get into a playoff, so the yusho will almost certainly be decided among the leading trio.

If Tamawashi can win out, he will claim his first yusho at the age of 34. He faces M5 Aoiyama (7-6) tomorrow, and the big Bulgarian, who has a similar style, leads the series 5-4, but none of those meetings were recent, and Tamawashi took the last three bouts. Tamawashi’s likely senshuraku opponent is Komusubi Myogiryu (5-8), who has a 5-3 head-to-head edge, but once again, most of those bouts took place years ago, and Tamawashi prevailed when the two met in Kyushu.

Hakuho has the toughest remaining schedule, facing Goeido tomorrow and Takayasu on senshuraku. Takakeisho should get Goeido on the last day, and takes on M4 Okinoumi (6-7) tomorrow.

Kadoban Watch

Goeido easily won today’s Ozeki duel, leaving both men with 7-6 records that will have them seeking a victory apiece during the final weekend. As noted above, Goeido will have to find it against Hakuho or Takakeisho, while Takayasu needs to beat Mitakeumi or Hakuho. [A theory: Takayasu knew that Mitakeumi had picked up his 8th win earlier, and figured that with his rank secured, the injured Komusubi would either pull out or protect his leg in their bout tomorrow, giving the Ozeki an easy 8th win. He therefore opted not to expend too much effort today. Or Goeido just had a better day.]

Takakeisho’s Ozeki Run

The Sekiwake took a big step toward sumo’s second-highest rank with his defeat of Hakuho. A victory tomorrow against Okinoumi could seal the deal (Takakeisho has taken 2 of their 3 previous bouts); winning both of his remaining matches should do it for sure.

The Sanyaku

Two sanyaku slots in Osaka are spoken for by Tamawashi and Mitakeumi, who overcame his injury and Ichinojo to pick up his 8th win. Kotoshogiku opened a Komusubi slot today by handing Myogiryu his 8th loss. It’s seeming increasingly likely that Takakeisho will open a Sekiwake slot by earning promotion.

Most of upper maegashira with promotion hopes lost today, and the race remains wide-open. M2 Hokutofuji (7-6) is in the best shape to secure a slot with one more victory. M1 Ichinojo (6-7) is well-positioned by virtue of his rank, but must win both of his remaining bouts. Stumbles by these two would open the door for a long list of unlikely contenders, including M2 Nishikigi (who faces Hokutofuji tomorrow and has never lost to him), Kaisei, Aoiyama, and Endo.

Makuuchi Turnover

Today’s victories by Daishomaru and Daiamami were much too little, too late to save them from a trip to Juryo. Injured Kotoyuki now looks set to join them. Kagayaki, Yutakayama, and Kotoeko each need a victory to reach safety, while Chiyoshoma might need two.

Moving up to the top division will be Terutsuyoshi and Ishiura. Toyonoshima should be a lock to join them with one more win, Chiyomaru and Tomokaze may need one or two, while Daishoho and Shimanoumi must win out. Tokushoryu has an outside chance with two victories.

19 thoughts on “Hatsu Storylines, Day 13

  1. How likely is it that, due to the extra two Makuuchi slots, wrestlers who would have normally dropped to Juryo would stay in Makuuchi, rather than go deep into the Juryo joi for the two extra candidates?

    • It depends on the relative records. If it’s a close call, the recent bias has been to keep the Makuuchi guys. Yago and Terutsuyoshi were left hanging despite solid promotion cases the last two basho, and even without retirements, last March both M14 Nishikigi (5-10) and M15 Myogiryu (6-9) survived with records that would almost always lead to demotions, due in part to a lack of sufficiently highly ranked promotion candidates in Juryo. The two extra slots should definitely lead to some unusually good banzuke luck.

    • Im curious too. The last times the banzuke committee favoured the makuuchi rikishi and got totally embarassed. Maybe this time they won’t be too soft on them. With takanoiwa, Kotoyuki, Daiamami and Daishomaru 4 promotions are guaranteed already. Takakeisho making it to Ozeki would open up a 5th guaranteed slot. Chiyoshoma, Kotoeko and Yutakayama(wtf?!?) are still up in the air. There could be a ton of candidates for promotion with solid cases.

      Btw, fun fact … Last basho Tomokaze started the basho with two wins followed by 3 losses and then one out … this time he started 3-5 and has a 5bout win streak now again. He seems to be quite comfortable with week 2;)

          • 16w stays either way, but if he doesn’t get promoted, they create 17e since there will be one fewer named rank, no?

            • SInce kisenosato retired with an Ozeki promotion we would be at 2 yokozuna, 4 ozeki and 2 each of komusubi&sekiwake … so I think we get an even number of makuuchi too.
              I was somewhat confused yesterday ;) So my thinking was, if we stay at 32 makuuchi ranks, one moves up (replacing takakeisho in Sanyaku), Takanoiwa + the 3 sure demotees would make 5 spots.
              I’m not entirely sure, but I think the magic number is 42 top division rikishi, so if Takakeisho doesn’t get promoted, we will get 17E to balance out the banzuke, so it actually wouldn’t matter … it’s still 5 promotees for sure.

  2. I’ve always thought of Tamawashi as a sort of sumo mini boss – beat him and you’re on the way up; get beaten and you’re on the way down. Cool to see this consistent performer getting his breaks here and I’ll be happy for him if he can achieve the improbable come Sunday.

      • Do you know those bookies personally? I suspect practically no one had money on Tamawashi. They’re more likely to love how it turns out.

  3. Will takakeisho be certain of Ozeki status if he wins out?

    He will have 34 wins over a three-basho series, but one of those tournaments was only 9-6.

    Tochinoshin’s promotion seemed much more uncertain until quite late in the third basho of his run. I seem to remember people saying he’d need better than 10-5 in his third basho for promotion, but 10-5 would have given him 34 wins. Eventually he gained 37 wins in those three basho, with no result worse than 10-5.

    Tochinoshin did start his run as a Maegashira, I guess but otherwise I can’t see why Tatakeisho would be certain for promotion in a situation where Tochishon wasn’t.

    • Fair enough; it’s not certain until it happens, and there are ambiguous statements being made by members of the sumo association, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t promote him with 12 wins and (at least) a jun-yusho, especially given the state of the upper ranks. I’d even say it’s better than even money that they promote him with 11. We’ll see in a couple of days.

  4. This may be petty and superficial, but I hope that if Tamawashi wins this basho, he rises to the occasion and his social maturity drastically improves. Cut the “Purple Nurple” and “Titty Twister” crap out, and legal or not, lay off the multiple kotenages.

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