Hatsu Storylines, Day 10

A brief update on yesterday’s longer post.

Who will lift the Emperor’s Cup?

No changes today, since everyone with 3 or fewer losses posted a win on Day 10. We continue to have two contenders, M4 Shodai (9-1) and Ozeki Takakeisho (8-2), and several lower-ranked pretenders.

How many Ozeki will we have in Osaka?

At this point, the answer is almost certainly one. After ending Sekiwake Takayasu’s quest to reclaim the rank yesterday, Takarafuji pushed Goeido’s attempt to retain it to the brink, handing the kadoban Ozeki his 7th loss. Goeido now needs a prefect 5-0 finish to avoid demotion to Sekiwake, which in his current form seems exceedingly unlikely.

Takakeisho locked down his rank for at least the next two tournaments by recording his 8th win. But I’m now declaring Sekiwake Asanoyama’s (6-4) hopes of March promotion dead after his loss to Tochinoshin. At this point, he needs to finish 4-1 or better just to keep the run going into the Haru basho.

Who will fill the Sekiwake and Komusubi ranks at Haru?

First, the incumbents. Asanoyama needs 2 victories in the remaining 5 days to remain the East Sekiwake. Takayasu (4-6) needs 4 to keep the West Sekiwake slot, and 3 to limit his demotion to Komusubi. Abi (5-5) needs 3 wins to hold down the East Komusubi slot for the 5th straight tournament, and can no longer reach the 11-4 record needed to force the creation of an extra Sekiwake slot. Finally, West Komusubi Daieisho is now one loss away from demotion.

As to the contenders, we have, in rough order of current strength of claim, M4 Shodai (9-1), M2 Hokutofuji (7-3), M1 Endo (6-4), and M2 Mitakeumi (6-4). It’s not yet clear how many (if any) open slots they’re vying for, and whether any will finish with a strong enough record to force san’yaku promotion even without an open slot.

Who could be fighting in Juryo in March?

Ishiura removed himself from any danger of demotion with his defeat of Ryuden today, as did Tochiozan with his win over Shimanoumi. M13 Kotoeko (2-8) is now the sole most-endangered rikishi, needing 4 victories in 5 days to stay in Makuuchi. M15 Ikioi (4-6) and M14 Shimanoumi (3-7) need 3. M17 Kiribayama, M11 Chiyotairyu, M12 Tsurugisho, M13 Kotoshogiku, and M15 Azumaryu are still looking for 2 wins apiece. Finally, one more win will do it for M12 Chiyomaru and M16 Kaisei.

Down in Juryo, J5 Daishoho (8-2) is the leading promotion contender, and can lock down a return to the top division with 2 more wins. I’d say 9 additional Juryo men are still mathematically in the promotion race, but each needs between 3 and 5 wins to stake a serious claim. Heading that group are the J2 duo of Kotonowaka and Hidenoumi (both 5-5), J4 Nishikigi (6-4), and J6 Daiamami (7-3). Honorable mention goes to the Juryo yusho leader, undefeated former Ozeki Terunofuji (10-0 at J13).

18 thoughts on “Hatsu Storylines, Day 10

    • He should definitely be, and probably with a 14-1 as well. Closest precedent is Endo in 2013, 14-1 at J13w saw him promoted to M13. The other two closest since the 1970s were both by Baruto in in 2006 and 2007: 15-0 at J11 -> M11 and 14-1 at J11 -> M14.

  1. I missed Terunofuji as I had a huge blank period of about ten years (including when he was in makuuchi and then became an Ozeki). I think the first tournament after that hiatus that I really had a chance to watch was when Tochinoshin won the cup. So, anyway, I’m intrigued by all of the shout-outs towards Terunofuji and hope he does well.

  2. I’m like split on Terunofuji. After all in my eyes he’s the Ozeki that puleld a Henka on a trying to save his rank Kotoshogiku costing him his rank in the most despicable way I can think of from someone of his status at the time. On the other hand seeing as Koto stayed in the Top division and he dropped all the way to the bottom of the barrel and has had to fight his way back.. Punishment served.. but in my heart.. I’m REALLY slow to forgive stunts like that.

      • You can trust I dislike every time it happens. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Abi who seems to rely on at least 1 henka per Basho if not more, and often in Key matches. I also respect Hakuho but I’m not exactly a Fan of his because of the trick I see him pull as a Yokozuna I feel are beneath him. It pains me to see Tochinoshin pulling multiple Henkas, fallen so far from the massive powerhouse he use to be who finally handed Hakuho a defeat for the first time in 26 matches. Please trust, I dislike them all.

    • does it help that in the moment of truth, the same terunofuji dropped the last two bouts to one-armed kisenosato, allowing him the only japanese yokozuna basho in decades?

      • I tribute that more to Big Kens skill and determination. I also though have never been so sad as to see Someone falls like Big Ken did. He hardly got to enjoy his hard fought victories to make that rank before he had to give it all up.

  3. I wish we did not have to put up with Terunofuji BS ever again. But the timing of his return is just perfect and I will not be surprised if he is Ozeki again by this time next year.

    • Quite a few of his victories are very hard fought. I think is unlikely that he will be Ozeki again. The level of competition increases i think he will struggle in Makuuchi. Given that he is 28, have bad knees and diabetic, i hope he focuses on longevity and heath. I hated/hate the henka he pulled on Kotoshogiku but i hope he will stay in salaried ranks to have a comfortable life after.

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