Let’s take a look at where things stand heading into Act 3.
The Yusho Race
We are down to 5 co-leaders with 8-2 records, ranging in rank from Ozeki to maegashira 14. Two additional wrestlers—pre-tournament favorites Asanoyama and Terunofuji—are one off the pace at 7-3. The lead group will be reduced to at most 4 on day 11, when the schedulers have matched up Onosho and Tobizaru.
The Named Ranks
Ozeki Takakeisho is in the lead group, and a second career title would be the start of a Yokozuna challenge for him. Also in the lead group is East Sekiwake Shodai, who has successfully defended his rank and is still maintaining a slim hope of an Ozeki promotion.
West Sekiwake Mitakeumi (6-4) has alternated two-bout winning and losing streaks since the start of the basho; he needs one win in the final 5 days to remain in san’yaku, two to maintain his rank, and 4 to continue an Ozeki run into November.
Shin-Sekiwake Daieisho, 3-7 is one loss away from losing his rank, and two away from dropping out of san’yaku altogether. Both Komusubi, Okinoumi and Endo, are also 3-7, meaning that another loss would drop them into the rank-and-file.
Neither M1 is suffering the usual beating associated with that rank, with Terunofuji (7-3) leading the san’yaku promotion race and Takanosho (6-4) second in line.
Certain to drop to Juryo: Abi and Kyokutaisei.
The following win totals are needed for other endangered Makuuchi men to stay in the top division, barring favorable banzuke luck due to a lack of promotion contenders in Juryo and/or even worse performances by other demotion candidates:
5 wins: Shohozan.
4 wins: Ishiura.
3 wins: Ichinojo, Shimanoumi, Kotoshogiku.
2 wins: Hoshoryu*, Enho. *3 if everything breaks against him.
1 win: Kaisei, Meisei.
J2w Kotonowaka, 8-2, leads the short list of Juryo promotion candidates; he’s probably done enough already, and one more win should seal the deal for sure. Fellow Sadagotake beya J2e Kotoyuki, 7-3, is the only other rikishi ranked J5 or higher with a winning record. J11w Chiyonokuni, 9-1, continues to lead the yusho race and mount a dark-horse promotion campaign from near the bottom of the rankings.
As noted previously, the Makushita-Juryo exchange picture is complicated by the mandated absences and uncertain banzuke fates of J7 Azumaryu and J14 Fujiazuma. There are already two certain openings in Juryo, one created by Kizakiumi’s retirement and the other by Oki’s 0-10 sekitori debut.
Of the 10 rikishi in the Ms1-Ms5 promotion zone, one is absent, and one is already make-koshi. That leaves 8 in the hunt: 4 with 3-2 records, 3 with 2-3, and the last man in the promotion zone, fan favorite Ura (Ms5w), who is in a 3-way tie for the lead in the Makushita yusho race at 5-0. All the promotion candidates are in action on day 11, when the picture should clear up considerably.