Wrapping Up The July Basho

Tachiai congratulates former Ozeki Terunofuji (M17e, 13-2) on his incredible comeback and storybook victory. The “Kaiju” should be ranked much higher in September, and will likely face a regular slate of san’yaku opponents. If he can retain his current form, I wouldn’t bet against a repeat performance. Let’s take a look at what the results mean for other moves up and down the banzuke.

Yokozuna and Ozeki runs

A 12-3 jun-yusho was a strong performance by Asanoyama in his Ozeki debut, but should not put him on any sort of Yokozuna run. Neither Sekiwake will be promoted to Ozeki despite excellent 11-4 records. Shodai, whose previous result was 8-7 at Sekiwake, probably needs a 14-win yusho to be promoted in September; more likely, he’ll need double-digit wins in the next two basho. With 10 wins at M3 in March, including a 5-2 record against san’yaku opponents, 11 here, and his long record of consistent san’yaku performances, not to mention 2 yusho, Mitakeumi may be the more likely of the pair to get the nod at Aki, possibly with 11-12 wins.

The san’yaku ranks

Both Sekiwake will remain at the same ranks. After his breakout performance, Komusubi Daieisho (11-4), is, in my opinion, likely to get an extra Sekiwake slot, despite two of his wins being fusensho. This would also open up the West Komusubi slot for M1e Endo (8-7), and free the banzuke committee from having to either not promote him or create a precedent-setting extra Komusubi slot. M2 Takanosho (8-7) and M5 Hokutofuji (9-6), the only other upper maegashira with winning records, will have to settle for the two M1 slots.

The demotion picture

We have three clear demotions to Juryo: M15 Chiyomaru (4-11), M17 Kotoyuki (6-8-1), and M13 Kotonowaka (4-6-5). Two additional rikishi have demotable records: M16 Nishikigi (6-9) and M9 Ikioi (3-12). M12 Shohozan (5-10) secured a stay in the top division with three victories (one by default) in the final three days. My guess here is that Ikioi saved himself with his final-day victory, as there isn’t a strong enough promotion contender to take his place (see below). Nishikigi, on the other hand, should be returning to the second division, his reputation for Houdini-like escapes notwithstanding.

Promotions from Juryo

Three promotions are certain: Juryo yusho winner J1e Meisei (10-5), J2e Tobizaru (9-6), who just missed out last time, and the star of “A Normal Life”, J5e Kyokutaisei (10-5). I believe that they will be joined by J6e Hoshoryu (10-5), who will take Nishikigi’s spot. Narrowly missing out will be J5w Ichinojo (9-6), who lost his “exchange bout” against Shohozan.

The Juryo-Makushita exchange

Three rikishi will be dropping out of Juryo: J10 Asabenkei (3-12), J14 Chiyonoumi (6-9), and J13 Takagenji (6-9). With Tochiozan’s retirement, that’s four open slots. These will go to the Makushita yusho winner, former top-division mainstay Ms 12 Chiyonokuni (7-0), Ms2w Oki (5-2), Ms3e Nishikifuji (5-2), and Ms3w Kitaharima (5-2). Three members of the Makushita joi (Ms1-Ms5) will not move up to Juryo despite winning records, including former Komusubi Ms4w Jokoryu (5-2) and Ms5e “Prince” Naya (4-3).

The field for the new Makushita joi is crowded. The contenders include the 3 Juryo dropouts, although Asabenkei could fall below Ms5, Ms1 Kotodaigo (3-4), and the trio missing out on ptomotion: Ms4e Sakigake (4-3), Jokoryu, and Naya. That fills either 6 or 7 of the 10 slots. Two more will go to Ms6e Kaisho (5-2) and Ms10w Shiraishi (6-1). And a lack of strong winning records above him likely means that fan favorite Ms19 Ura (6-1) should continue his comeback from within the promotion zone!

I think that’s it, but if there’s anything I didn’t cover, please let me know in the comments. I will cover the Juryo promotions when they’re announced on Wednesday, and will have a full banzuke prediction post up in the coming weeks.

24 thoughts on “Wrapping Up The July Basho

    • It’s either struggle at the bottom of makuuchi or at the top of juryo… 🤷🏼‍♂️

      Anyway, he has a better case to stay than Nishikigi, Ichinojo presumably lost his shot at promotion, and there’s really no one else to move up … they’re not going to promote 9-6 Wakamotoharu from J8.

  1. Excellent, informative post. Thank you.

    Related question, when a makuuchi entrant withdraws, how is it decided which rikishi from juryo takes his place for ensuing matches?

    And (follow-up) does it have any impact on determining the juryo winner if a juryo rikishi had one or more “substitute” matches in makuuchi, or is that simply considered part of his overall record the same as if all 15 of his matches were against fellow juryo entrants?

    • The schedules are made a day at a time. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that any particular Juryo wrestler is being temporarily promoted, but wrestlers towards the top of Juryo are being scheduled against top division wrestlers as needed, to ensure everybody has an opponent for the day. The matches count the same as any other, for both participants. There’s no bonus or penalty for being scheduled across the division line.

  2. Thanks too. Just a semi-related question if I may please, I get what happens in a yusho play-off if there’s two (head to head), three (two wins in a row), four (I guess semis then a final) or six (juryo yesterday) people, but what if there’s five or seven please?

    • With 5, it works the same as we saw with 6, except somebody will get a bye in the first round and advance directly to the 3-man king of the hill battle.

      With 8, it’s a single elimination bracket. With 7, it’s the same as that, but somebody gets a bye in the first round.

      The byes are determined randomly, by drawing lots.

  3. Any info on the Jk winner Hokuseiho, from Miyagino? Big fellow, but not Toma. Is Hokuseiho a Hakuho deshi?

    Sumo DB has him born in Hokkaido, but his family name sounds like it could be Mongolian.

    • An interview I heard said that his family had moved from Mongolia To Hokkaido when he was a child. As a youngster, he met Hakuho at a sumo event and the Yokozuna encouraged him to try the sport.

    • Yes, Hokuseiho is yet another of the longer and longer list of Hakuho’s uchi-deshi: Retired Daikiho, Ishiura, Enho, Toma, Senho, Ishii and Hokuseiho.

      He is Mongolian. His family moved to Hokkaido when he was 5. That qualifies him to be registered as a local rather than a foreigner (as there foreigner slot at Miyagino is taken).

      At some point the family went on a homeland visit in Mongolia, connecting at an airport in Korea, where it so happened that Hakuho was also waiting for a flight. He chatted a bit with the kid, and the kid got hooked on sumo and on Hakuho himself. Hakuho is the one who told him to go to Tottori Johoku high school (as he did with Toma), and now that he graduated from there, he joined Miyagino.

    • I think they’ll just count 11 and not look under the hood. The special prize conditional on win #11 gives some indication of that.

  4. I initially disagreed with lksumo’s prediction that Daieisho would not make sekiwake with 11 wins as a) there were no vacant slots and b) two of his wins were fusen. I now think that he’s probably right. Takayasu got the nod after an 11-4 in January 2017 despite there being no real vacant slots (thanks to a ozeki demotion) and a fusen win. On the other hand Takayasu beat two yokozuna and three ozeki which Daieisho did not do. I’d say it’s 60-40 in his favour.

    • I was going to prematurely call a Daieisho Ozeki run. But looking at his results, before this basho 4 of his previous 5 results were 8-7 (and the other one was 7-8). So he needs to keep bucking that trend and run up the score again

      • It’s funny. I NEVER would have seen Ozeki as a possibility for Daieisho so it caught me by surprise when the NHK interviewer asked him about it. The look on his face made me think he’d not thought of it before, either. If something in him wakes up that he’s got a chance now and he pushes real hard, it would be great. Hopefully it would light a fire under Endo, too. I see flashes from him but he gets in this funk sometimes. If Daieisho made Ozeki before him…wow.

        • Funny, I remember at some point Kintamayama made a pre-basho video in which he talked about three rikishi whose names nobody ever remembers: Daieisho, Daishomaru and Nishikigi. Daishomaru is now in Juryo. Nishikigi had a cinderella basho but is also probably in Juryo now. Daieisho, OTOH, is not a name anybody is going to forget again, especially not Hakuho.

          • Daieisho and Daishomaru emerged at about the same time from the same stable and I did get them confused until someone pointed out that the first one pushes and the second one pulls. I then came to understand that Daieisho had the kind of demeanour and attitude that you want to cheer for him whilst Daishomaru, well… he’s just always had one of those faces which the Germans call “Backpfeifengesicht”.


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