Hatsu Storylines, Day 11

Not dead yet

Who will lift the Emperor’s Cup?

For the second day in a row, both leaders and all three chasers won, so the yusho race is unchanged. Tomorrow, M4 Shodai (10-1) faces his last san’yaku opponent, Komusubi Abi, while Ozeki Takakeisho (9-2) is matched up with ex-Ozeki Tochinoshin.

I’m going to start taking M17 Tokushoryu’s (10-1) yusho challenge seriously, especially since the scheduling committee doesn’t seem to be. The Day 11 co-leader has yet to face a single opponent from the upper half of the banzuke, with his 10 wins coming against one Juryo aite, 8 rikishi ranked M12 or lower, and M8 Aoiyama. On Day 12, he fights one of the chasers, M11 Kagayaki, whose form and 9-2 record make him a natural opponent, but against whom Tokushoryu holds a 4-1 career edge. I would guess the schedulers might pick the other rank-and-file chaser, M9 Yutakayama (9-2), as his Day 13 opponent, and only then, if he keeps winning, might they raise the ante, perhaps with a bout against Shodai himself.

How many Ozeki will we have in Osaka?

The only news here is that Goeido held off demotion for another day, but still needs to be perfect the rest of the way to remain Ozeki.

Who will fill the Sekiwake and Komusubi ranks at Haru?

East Sekiwake Asanoyama still needs 2 victories in the remaining 4 days to retain his rank. He takes on desperate Goeido tomorrow, and still has Takayasu and Takakeisho (and perhaps Takarafuji) on his fight card. Wes Sekiwake Takayasu (4-7) will be demoted with one more loss. East Komusubi Abi (5-6) can only afford one more loss, while West Komusubi Daieisho is now make-koshi in his san’yaku debut, and headed back into the rank-and-file.

The leading promotion contenders all won, so no changes here: we have M4 Shodai (10-1), M2 Hokutofuji (8-3), M1 Endo (7-4), and M2 Mitakeumi (7-4). Hokutofuji and Endo are matched up tomorrow, and the outcome ofd that bout could play an outsized role in the san’yaku promotion race.

Who could be fighting in Juryo in March?

Chiyomaru reached safety today. Needs to win all four to hold his spot in the top division: M13 Kotoeko (2-9). Needs 3 wins: M15 Ikioi (4-7). Need 2 wins: M12 Tsurugisho, M13 Kotoshogiku, M14 Shimanoumi, and M15 Azumaryu. Safe with one more win: M11 Chiyotairyu, M16 Kaisei, and M17 Kiribayama.

J5 Daishoho (9-2) will seal his return to the top division with 1 more win. The others with the best chances to join him are J2 Kotonowaka (6-5), J4 Nishikigi (7-4), J6 Daiamami (8-3), and J13 Terunofuji (11), but it might take 3 wins for anyone from this group to earn promotion.

9 thoughts on “Hatsu Storylines, Day 11

  1. The possible bottleneck is going to center on Komusubi. Takayasu, Abi, Shodai, Hokutofuji, Endo and Mitakeumi.

    Unless Takayasu drops all the way to Maegashira and Shodai only goes up to Maegashira 1. That still leaves, I think, with 4 vying for Komusubi as I think Abi will remain. If Endo and Mitakeumi implode over the next 4 days, then that’s a different story.

    • It’ll be interesting to see if the records get strong enough to create extra slots, as they did for Kyushu…

  2. Given Terunofuji’s history as a former ozeki, I think 13 wins might be enough in the eyes of the banzuke committee to get him back into Makuuchi for Haru. If he finishes with a zensho then he’s in for sure.

  3. Re the light scheduling for Tokushoryu – this is actually a familiar pattern. I always thought Asanoyama had a very easy road to his yusho, because they didn’t start scheduling him against high-ranking rikishi in time. This behavior by the scheduling committee puzzled me, but I came to believe that they see their main task as maintaining the integrity of the banzuke. which requires scheduling for example, an M17 against the rikishi that an M17 should face, rather than throwing him against higher rankers just because he is doing well. Maintaining the integrity of the yusho seems to come second. They rely on the hope that throwing a low-ranking over-achiever against higher rankers in the last two or three days will take care of the problem, and mostly it does.

  4. I think the scheduling for Tokushoryu is actually correct. Kagaxyaki and Yutakayama are the nation choices. If he is still standing after that, he will get shodai and on senshuraku someone of the Hokutofuji, Endo, Mitakeumi group, maybe Asanoyama, should he be 13-1 by then.

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