Haru Storylines, Day 10

The Yusho Race

After avenging the second of his three losses at Hatsu, Yokozuna Hakuho (10-0) remains the sole leader. Tomorrow, he will try to avenge the third against Takakeisho. The 9-1 chase group is down to two men. Quick, who thought that the big yusho race showdown on Day 11 would be M4 Ichinojo (9-1) vs. M7 Aoiyama (9-1)? Losses by Yokozuna Kakuryu and Ozeki Takayasu drop them into the two-off-the pace hunt group, which also includes Ozeki Goeido, Sekiwake Takakeisho and M8 Kotoshogiku.

The other Day 11 bouts with yusho race implications see Kakuryu facing Sekiwake Tamawashi (4-6), with the head-to-head record favoring the Yokozuna 9-4, Goeido taking on M5 Chiyotairyu (6-4), with the head-to-head nearly even at 7-6, Takayasu battling Ozeki Tochinoshin (6-4), whom he’s defeated 9 times in 17 encounters, and Kotoshogiku in an apparent mismatch against M15 Ishiura (6-4). The two have never met. I would fully expect Ishiura to pull out a henka against a much larger and higher-ranked opponent, and shame on Kotoshogiku if he doesn’t see it coming.

Kadoban Ozeki Tochinoshin

Despite surviving the initial charge and getting into a yotsu bout with Goeido, Tochinoshin could not notch his 7th win, and now needs 2 from 5 bouts to clear kadoban. He will try again tomorrow against another tough opponent trying to stay in the yusho race, Takayasu.

Takakeisho’s Ozeki Run

Takakeisho took a big step toward promotion today, notching his 8th victory and defeating a Yokozuna in doing so. Tomorrow, he goes up against The Boss, whom he bested for the first time in four tries last basho. After that, his fight card includes three Ozeki and a maegashira to be named later.

The San’yaku Ranks

West Sekiwake Tamawashi needs to record 4 victories in his remaining 5 bouts to maintain his rank, and 3 to limit his demotion to Komusubi. East Komusubi Mitakeumi won today and also needs 4 victories to defend his rank, while West Komusubi Hokutofuji lost and cannot afford even a single additional defeat if he is to extend his first San’yaku appearance beyond a single basho. Ichinojo and Aoiyama continue to lead the promotion race, and an Ichinojo win tomorrow would come close to locking up a return to the San’yaku ranks.

The Makuuchi <-> Juryo Exchange

Dropping out of the top division: Chiyonokuni. Taking his spot: Shimanoumi (J1e, 9-1).

Demotion danger level red (likely need to go 5 for 5): Yutakayama (M16w, 3-7), Terutsuyoshi (M14e, 2-7).

Demotion danger level orange (need at least 3 wins): Toyonoshima (M14w, 3-8), Daishoho (M16e, 4-6), Ikioi (M9w, 1-9).

Demotion danger level yellow (need 1-2 wins): , Chiyoshoma, Yago, Kotoeko, Ishiura, Tomokaze, Sadanoumi. Reaching safety today: Kagayaki and Shodai.

Chiyomaru (J1w, 7-3) should lock up a return to the top division with one more victory. Enho (J2w, 6-4) needs at least two and likely three to assure a Makuuchi debut. Sokokurai is a dark-horse promotion candidate with a 7-3 record down at J7w; he may need to win out to return to the top division, and his hopes will be on the line against Chiyomaru tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “Haru Storylines, Day 10

  1. Amazing (and sad) that three out of five promotees are in danger of dropping (I count Ishiura as safe, because he only needs one more henka, and Tomokaze is Makuuchi level). I don’t know what’s up with Terutsuyoshi – promotion jitters, too much pre-basho hype, an injury, bad luck – but he has only done his “brand of sumo” once this entire basho, and looks like he completely lost his compass and confidence. Toyonoshima also hasn’t quite dialed himself back up to Makuuchi style. I expected more of these two than, say, Daishoho.

    Being in a pessimistic mood, I have a feeling that the Ichinojo will join the hunt group tomorrow. Aoiyama delivers a strong hataki, his style is very much like Ichinojo’s this basho, and their sizes are comparable, but Aoiyama is much more confident in his current sumo.

    • And someone is going to luck out and stay in Makuuchi with a demotable record, as I’m guessing we’ll only see 2 or 3 promotions, and Chiyonokuni’s absence accounts for one of them.

      • I think there could be several getting lucky that way.
        Question – if Chiyoshoma ends up 7-8 will he definitely be demoted ahead of say, Yutakayama if the latter had a completely disastrous record, like 5-10. In other words is it an absolute guarantee to be demoted with any sort of losing record if you’re in the last makuuchi slot (even if there are relatively worse records in the ranks above)?

        • I can’t find an obvious precedent either way. There’s a number of instances when someone on the next-to-last rung survived at 7-8, but I can’t find someone surviving on the last rung. But in the cases I’ve looked at when those on the last rung have been demoted with a 7-8 record, there weren’t obvious demotion candidates higher up who were spared. I’m guessing there’s no hard and fast rule and Chiyoshoma would survive in that scenario, but if someone knows better, they can chime in.

          • Thanks lksumo! I think it’s going to be interesting because, as you highlight, there are likely to be a lot of relegation candidates but limited promotable rikishi from Juryo

  2. Bonus point* yusho race after 10 days: Hakuho 16; Goeido 12, Ichinojo 10, Ryuden 10, Takakeisho 9, Kotoshogiku 8, Kotoeko 8
    * entirely subjective and entirely for my own amusement

  3. Given the lack of withdrawals by the top guys, I imagine Aoiyama will avoid being thrown into the mix with the Yokozuna and Ozeki, further boosting his dark horse credentials


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