Aki Storylines, Day 10

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.

The Ozeki

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.

Demotion Danger

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.

19 thoughts on “Aki Storylines, Day 10

  1. So what happens if Goeido and Tochinoshin both fail to get kachi-koshi and Takakeisho fails to get 10. Four Sekiwake next basho? Could they conceivably plod along like this as long as they keep getting kachi-koshi but never enough to return to Ozeki?

  2. I’m relieved that the bout Tochinoshin vs Takakeisho will be tomorrow and not, as someone in an other forum was kidding about, on senshuraku 7-7 vs 9-5 (OMG…) so now both have a chance….
    And – no henka, please

      • Yes, this match is very much a “Fool me once…” sort of deal for Takakeisho. He has to plan for it at this point.

        Has Takakeisho ever managed a henka? Honestly before this basho I wouldn’t have bet he had the lateral movement speed to pull one off, but I have been really impressed with his speed and (mostly) his agility over the last 10 days.

  3. There is a very real prospect that whoever wins it will be their second time. Given all the flux and turmoil of the last two or three years, I have to feel that this would be a significant moment, because only the two yokozuna currently have more than one yusho, and it seems more and more unlikely that any of the current Ozeki (i.e. not including Takakeisho) will ever accomplish that. Having a new two-time winner would help give some direction to the sport.

    • It’s also important to recognize that the new two-time winner will face a lot more societal pressure from not just the fans by from the elders of the sport. One of the reasons that Kisenosato ended up injured so terribly is that pressure and weight of responsibility. It will definitely be interesting to see how things play out.

    • I don’t know about the direction part…I feel it’s just as likely that we’ll keep seeing these guys play hot potato for another while, with the worst-case scenario that Mitakeumi and Asanoyama keep missing out on ozeki promotions because they’re both too evenly matched with each other and with Takakeisho, and not far enough ahead of the likes of Hokutofuji, Endo, Tamawashi and Ichinojo.

      (Bold assumption here that Takakeisho regains his rank this week and doesn’t end up in the ozeki-chasing pack himself, which I guess would be the real worst-case scenario…)

  4. I’m going to give the edge to Asanoyama since he has already faced all the Sanyaku, and could conceivably win-out. Of course he has a speed bump in Hokutofuji tomorrow….

    One of the Sekiwaki drops off the leader board tomorrow.

    • Oops. Sorry, I had a wrong note on my list. The Seki’s don’t face each other.

      Getting ahead of myself in anticipation.

  5. Other readers may have their own view, but this should have been Takayasu’s tournament even if he was fighting at 90% or even 85%

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