The yusho race
After today’s epic showdown, and the withdrawal of Yokozuna Hakuho, your surprise day 13 sole leader in former Ozeki Terunofuji (M17e, 12-1). He is trailed by the man he vanquished, new Ozeki Asanoyama (11-2). Also in the race, at least mathematically, are the Sekiwake duo Shodai and Mitakeumi, both 10-3. Both will certainly feature prominently in the yusho race, as Shodai will face Terunofuji tomorrow and Asanoyama on senshuraku, while Mitakeumi will almost certainly be pitted against Terunofuji on the final day.
The future of the Ozeki corps
Asanoyama is having a strong debut tournament at sumo’s second-highest rank. Fellow Ozeki Takakeisho (8-4-1) cleared kadoban, although his withdrawal is concerning given his injury history. Reinforcements may be on the way: both Sekiwake will finish with no fewer than 10 wins, and this could even be considered the second basho of an Ozeki run for each, depending on how high they can run up the final score.
The san’yaku ranks
The Sekiwake will retain their ranks. Both Komusubi will also remain in san’yaku, having recorded the required 8 wins. Daieisho (9-4) could force an extra Sekiwake slot to be created if he wins out, while Okinoumi (8-5) is kachi-koshi for the first time in seven appearances in the named ranks. Unless Daieisho is promoted, there won’t be any open san’yaku slots, though Endo (6-7) could make the banzuke committee’s life difficult by finishing 8-7 at the top maegashira one East rank. M2 Takanosho (7-6) is the current front-runner should a slot open, with M5 Hokutofuji (8-5) the only other man in a position to pass him. Of course, should Terunofuji take the yusho with a 14-1 record, he could also have a claim, notwithstanding the recent precedent set by Tokushoryu, who wasn’t a former Ozeki.
The ex-Ozeki quartet
Our four former Ozeki are all kachi-koshi and will be moving up the banzuke, reversing their recent trends. M11 Tochinoshin, M13 Takayasu, and M14 Kotoshogiku are all 8-5, and the aforementioned M17 Terunofuji is 12-1, for a combined 36-16 record. Of the six possible bouts among them, four have taken place, with Takayasu going 2-0, Tochinoshin 1-1, Terunofuji 1-1, and Kotoshogiku 0-2.
At the moment, 8 rikishi have 6-7 or 7-6 records, meaning that their make/kachi-koshi fate hasn’t been decided yet. Two of the 6-7’s and two of the 7-6’s are matched up on day 14, leaving at most 6 (and as few as 2) 7-7 rikishi going into senshuraku. Sorry, Bruce, so opportunities for 7-7 winner-take all bouts on the final day are going to be fairly limited.
The demotion picture
We have one clear demotion: M15 Chiyomaru will be headed to Juryo, having already recorded 10 losses. Several rikishi need to win their final two bouts for safety: M9 Ikioi (2-11), M12 Shohozan (3-10), M13 Kotonowaka (4-4-5), who makes a possibly ill-advised return tomorrow in an attempt to save his top-division spot, and M17 Kotoyuki (6-7), who appeared to be hurt after today’s loss. M16 Nishikigi (6-7) should be safe with one more win. I should mention 0-13 M2 Onosho, who should survive even if he remains winless. There was one demotion of an M2 in 1990, but that was when the banzuke only went down to M14. A number of winless M2’s have survived, but all were absent for all or part of the basho. Picking up 15 losses on the dohyo is extremely rare, having happened only 4 times in the history of the top division, so who knows what the banzuke committee will do. And then there’s Abi.
Promotions from Juryo
J1e Meisei (9-4) has clinched a return to Makuuchi. Others still in contention, and probably in this order, are J5e Kyokutaisei (9-4), J2e Tobizaru (7-6), J6e Hoshoryu (9-4), and J5w Ichinojo (8-5). All of them still need wins, and some banzuke luck, to make it to the top division.