Acts One and Two are in the books, and we are at the start of Act Three—the crucial five days that will decide how the storylines play out.
Who will take the yusho?
The three co-leaders—Yokozuna Kakuryu, Sekiwake* Tochinoshin, and M8 Asanoyama—all won today, retaining their one-victory cushion. Enho‘s loss leaves M15 Kotoeko as the only two-loss chaser, and the 3-loss group got chopped from eight to three: Enho and the two Ozeki.
Tomorrow, Kakuryu faces M5 Myogiryu (3-7). Surprisingly, the career record only favors the Yokozuna 11-8, but most of those bouts took place years ago, and Kakuryu won both of this year’s prior meetings. Tochinoshin gets M4 Abi (6-4), against whom he is 3-0. Somewhat puzzlingly, the Day 11 challenger for Asanoyama is checks notes M13 Sadanoumi (5-5).
Will Tochinoshin regain his Ozeki rank?
Tochinoshin has recorded 9 of the 10 required victories in the first ten days. He is sure to be motivated to record the 10th in his first opportunity tomorrow. If the schedulers stay true to form, he should face Myogiryu (who’s given him trouble in the past), Kakuryu, Goeido, and Takayasu over the final four days, though I could think of a more exciting pairing than Myogiryu cough Asanoyama cough.
Who will occupy the San’yaku ranks in July?
After a terrible start, East Komusubi Aoiyama is making a late push to defend his rank (and possibly even move up to Sekiwake), winning 3 in a row to run his record to 4-6. He still needs to win 4 of 5, but faces his last upper-rank opponent, Takayasu, tomorrow. Could Asanoyama be on the menu in the coming days? West Komusubi Mitakeumi (6-4) finished his tour of the named ranks today, and needs to defeat 2 of 5 maegashira opponents (starting with Endo) for a likely return to Sekiwake. If he can make it 4 of 5, we could see the start of another Ozeki run.
Abi’s loss today makes Asanoyama and Tamawashi (6-4) the current frontrunners for promotion, with Abi and Daieisho (5-5) waiting in the wings.
Who will be in Makuuchi in July?
M17e Chiyoshoma dropped his 4th straight bout, and his 7th overall, leaving him one loss away from a trip to Juryo. M14e Tokushoryu (2-6) remains second in the demotion queue despite snapping a 5-match losing streak and picking up his 3rd win. He needs 4 victories in the remaining 5 days to reach safety. M15e Terutsuyoshi (4-6) is in only slightly better shape, needing 3 wins, the same target as M16w Ishiura (5-5). And M10e Kagayaki (2-8) is threatening to pull an Ikioi and drop to Juryo from the mid-maegashira ranks unless he can double his victory total to date.
Will Juryo produce any promotion contenders beyond the streaking J2e Takagenji, now 10-0? Top-ranked J1e Toyonoshima (6-4) has now dropped 3 in a row and still needs two victories to secure a quick return to Makuuchi. Everyone else is at least 4 wins away from staking a serious claim.
Who will make the jump from upper Makushita to Juryo?
None of the contenders were in action on Day 10, which means all of them will be battling it out on Day 11. Here’s the mouthwatering torikumi for the Makushita joi:
Ms1e Fujiazuma 2-3 vs Ms4w Hoshoryu 2-3
Ms6w Kizenryu 2-3 vs Ms1w Wakamotoharu 2-3
Ms2e Kotokamatani 3-2 vs Ms3e Ichiyamamoto 3-2
Ms22 Naya 5-0 vs Ms2w Takanofuji 5-0
Ms11w Chiyosakae 4-1 vs Ms3w Kizakiumi 4-1
Ms4e Ryuko 4-1 vs Ms7e Daiseido 4-1
Obviously, the highlight here is the clash between Takanofuji and Naya, both undefeated, for a spot in the Makushita yusho final, but every bout will either advance or end someone’s chance of attaining sekitori status.