The Yusho Race
As I predicted yesterday, M8 Okinoumi and M10 Meisei could not keep their lead in the yusho race, falling back into a 5-rikishi 8-2 pack that also includes the Sekiwake duo Mitakeumi and Takakeisho as well as M2 Asanoyama. At this point, it’s looking increasingly likely that the battle for the Emperor’s Cup will come down to the latter trio, each of whom will be looking to lift it for the second time as a stepping stone toward either earning or regaining the rank of Ozeki.
Tomorrow, Okinoumi faces M14 Tsurugisho (7-3), who, despite his low rank, tripped up Meisei today and is having a great debut tournament in the top division. Meisei gets an even easier opponent in M15 Ishiura (6-4), who still needs a win to avoid a trip to Juryo. The higher-ranked members of the lead group face much tougher opposition: it’s Ryuden vs. Mitakeumi, Tochinoshin vs. Takakeisho, and Hokutofuji vs. Asanoyama.
After today’s loss dropped him to 6-4, Goeido’s quest to clear kadoban is looking a little shakier, and he is only 8-7 against tomorrow’s opponent, Chiyotairyu. Tochinoshin has evened his record to 5-5. The odds of a 7-7 “Darwin bout” between these two in the musubi-no-ichiban on senshuraku just went up!
Rounding out the picture, Takakeisho is kachi-koshi and needs to win two of his remaining five bouts to regain his Ozeki rank.
The Lower San’yaku
Mitakeumi has officially ensured that he will be ranked in lower san’yaku for the 17th consecutive tournament in Kyushu, trailing only Wakanosato, who holds this somewhat dubious record with 19. I’m sure the Sekiwake would love to make Ozeki before tying or breaking it. The other Sekiwake slot will come open only if Goeido, Tochinoshin and Takakeisho are all Ozeki in November. Endo and Abi each need two more victories to remain Komusubi or move up a rank. Asanoyama stands head-and-shoulders above the other promotion contenders.
Toyonoshima (1-9) has gone kyujo, and his absence tomorrow will cement his drop to the second division. Takagenji (3-7) needs to win out to avoid joining him. Of the rest, Tochiozan (5-5) and Daishoho (3-7) have the most work left to do, while Sadanoumi and Tsurugisho have joined the “definitely safe” category. Terutsuyoshi is the only rikishi ranked in the single digits who has not secured a stay in Makuuchi by Day 10. His roundness J1e Chiyomaru (6-4) has now jumped ahead of Takanosho (6-4) in the promotion queue, and will be back in the top division with two more wins, but in general the Juryo performances have been lackluster and may once again result in a lenient demotion environment for Makuuchi rikishi.