Aki Storylines, Day 11

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.

The Ozeki

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.

Demotion Danger

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.

15 thoughts on “Aki Storylines, Day 11

  1. If Takakeisho manages to win this basho, then it will speak volumes that one month past his 23rd birthday Takakeisho will have the same yusho total as Kisenosato had in his long and storied career. And what it will speak volumes about is the relative weakness of the upper ranks in Takakeisho’s era compared to the gloriously strong upper ranks during Kisenosato’s. By writing this, I mean to take nothing away from Takakeisho’s accomplishments, which are astounding for someone of his youth and physique.

    • I think Takakeisho’s unusual frame is more of an advantage to him than not. His technique is pretty known by now, but there is something in those pushes that no rikishi seems capable to witstand.

    • What will be more interesting than the current turnover phase is how Takakeisho will be slotting in during his prime. Asashoryu ended up being the only ozeki (and above) caliber rikishi from basically half a generation of them – nobody else born from 1978 to 1982 managed it, and the two ozeki bookending that cohort (Miyabiyama born 1977, Kotooshu born 1983) weren’t exactly world beaters either.

      So there was a rather major gap of frontline talent between the famed 1976ers generation (Chiyotaikai, Tochiazuma, Kotomitsuki and arguably Wakanosato) and the guys born 1984-1986 who have presided over the last decade (Haru, Hak, Kak, Kise, Giku, Goeido, Baruto). If everyone pans out as expected Takakeisho will have significant competition, but it’s just as possible that he’ll be the last and only man standing.

      • Look at the wrestlers currently in their prime years, 27-30, That group has produced two underwhelming ozeki (Takayasu and Terunofuji) and a grand total of one yusho (Teru back in May 2015). I can’t see many of the others from that tranche adding to the totals: Hokutofuji? Endo?

        If you look at the next age group, 23-26, we have only one ozeki so far but this squad have already produced three different yusho winners. The medium-term future looks bright.

    • Yes, and what it also says is that taking a yusho off to recuperate and heal even if it means demotion is better than mindlessly fighting at sub-par fitness and not only risking injury becoming chronic but also a shorter fighting career. I look forward to seeing Takayasu healed and strong, despite the sad recent events at his beya.

  2. If Tochinoshin drops to sekiwake, will he have another shot to regain Ozeki status with 10 wins next basho, or is that a one time chance which he already used? In other words , is “ozekiwake” a thing every time someone drops from Ozeki, or do you get that status once?

  3. How well would Asanoyama have to do to force a K2E slot? As recently as Aki 1998, Kotonowaka went from M2E to K2E with a 9-6 (and shukun-sho) even though Kaio at M1E had a 7-8. In doing so he leapfrogged Tochiazuma at M1W with 8-7 (the two M1s swapped sides). I seem to recall reading there’s been a shift in how promotion works near the top of the banzuke since that era though…

    • with the last banzuke crystal ball I looked up the last 15years or so and it appears that the magic number for an extra slot seems to be 11 wins. Whether or not that may increase to even 12 from M2 I wouldn’t know. My guess would be that 12 wins create an extra sekiwake slot, while 11 will create an extra komusubi slot. If any of the komusubu (Endo) get 11 wins, they will probably get an extra sekiwake slot and Asanoyama would just fill the void.
      I think Asashosakari pointed out in the same thread that before 2006 the “extra slot policy” has been way more lenient, but has always been very strict afterwards.

      • I believe the current standard is that an M1 can force a komusubi slot with 10 (which no one seems to have done since Roho in 2006) and a komusubi can force a sekiwake slot with 11 (Tochiozan, Hatsu 2014).

        • I think that’s right, and we know that 11 from M3 is not enough to force a Komusubi slot (Hokutofuji, Kyushu 2017). So Hokutofuji is probably stuck at M1e even if he wins out, unless there is an open slot. I’m going to guess that 12 from M2 would be enough to open an extra Komusubi slot, and that 10 won’t do it, but I’m not sure about 11.

  4. I think Takakeisho’s martial arts background helps give him an extra edge. Also, his calm and controlled demeanor help maintain consistency.

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