The Yusho Race
Please see Josh’s excellent preview post for an analysis of tomorrow’s matchups. Three of the Day 10 co-leaders blinked on Day 11, picking up their 3rd losses and leaving Sekiwake Takakeisho and M10 Meisei as the sole rikishi with 9-2 records. Sekiwake Mitakeumi, M2 Asanoyama, and M8 Okinoumi fall back into a 5-man 8-3 chase group. Another 5 rikishi are two back at 7-4, giving us a whopping 12 plausible contenders for the Emperor’s Cup and no fewer than 10 bouts on Day 12 with implications for the yusho race. At 7-4, M16e Yutakayama is just barely safe in the top division. He is also (theoretically) in contention for the title. Perhaps even more remarkably, only 10 rikishi still participating in the tournament have been mathematically eliminated at this point. The race looks like something you often see in Juryo, but rarely in Makuuchi. Personally, at this point I’d have to give the nod to Takakeisho, who is fighting well and has a victory in hand over the other upper-rank contenders.
Goeido (7-4) needs to pick up one victory against a slate of Ryuden, the two Sekiwake, and Tochinoshin to clear kadoban. Tochinoshin (5-6) can only afford a single loss against a similar lineup. Takakeisho is a single win away from regaining his Ozeki rank.
The Lower San’yaku
My guess is that Takakeisho and Tochinoshin will trade places, and with Mitakeumi having already locked down the other Sekiwake slot, none will be open. Endo and Abi still look like good bets to defend their Komusubi ranks, quite likely leaving no open slots for joi maegashira to move up into. Asanoyama continues to head the promotion queue, with Hokutofuji, Tomokaze, and Tamawashi on the outskirts of the promotion picture.
Toyonoshima and Takagenji have been ticketed for a return to Juryo. Daishoho and Terutsuyoshi are on the hot seat, while Tochiozan has moved himself close to safety with three straight wins, but isn’t quite there yet. He is matched with Daishoho tomorrow. Rikishi who still need one more win apiece to be out of danger include Kagayaki, Nishikigi, Ishiura, and Azumaryu. Everyone else will be back in Kyushu.
Today’s results again flip-flopped Takanosho ahead of Chiyomaru (6-4) in the promotion queue, while nobody else in Juryo has stepped up to make a strong promotion push, although a few rikishi still have a chance to do so with 3 or more wins in the remaining 4 days.