Aki Storylines, Day 12

The Yusho Race

We are down to 3 co-leaders with 10-2 records: Ozeki Takakeisho, Sekiwake Shodai, and surprise of the tournament, maegashira 14 Tobizaru, who is certain to receive a special prize in his top-division debut. Three additional wrestlers—pre-tournament favorite Asanoyama and high-performing maegashira Wakatakakage and  Onosho, who were both dropped from the lead group by Tobizaru—are one off the pace at 9-3.

The schedulers are not messing around, with the top-ranked co-leaders meeting tomorrow in what has to be the match of the tournament so far. Takakeisho leads the head-to-head 7-4, but Shodai has taken the last two. The next roadblock for Tobizaru is M1 Takanosho, who has taken all 5 of their lower-division meetings. Asanoyama takes on struggling Mitakeumi, who does hold a 5-2 career edge in their rivalry. Wakatakakage takes on Terunofuji, while Onosho is matched with Takarafuji.

The Named Ranks

Takakeisho is in the lead group, and a second career title would be the start of a Yokozuna challenge for him. Fellow Ozeki Asanoyama trails by one and still controls his fate, unless Tobizaru were to somehow win out without facing him. Co-leader Shodai has successfully defended his rank, can still hope for an Ozeki promotion and, barring that, will carry a 2-basho run forward into the November tournament. West Sekiwake Mitakeumi (7-5) will remain in san’yaku but still needs one win in the final 3 days to maintain his rank and three to continue an Ozeki run.

Shin-Sekiwake Daieisho (4-8) will drop from his career-high rank, and one more loss will drop him out of san’yaku altogether. Both Komusubi, Okinoumi and Endo, are make-koshi, and will be back in the rank-and-file on the next banzuke. The most likely number of open san’yaku slots is 2, but it could be as few as 1 if Daieisho wins out and limits his drop to Komusubi and as many as 3 if Shodai earns promotion. M1e Terunofuji (8-4) leads the promotion queue, closely followed by M1w Takanosho (8-4). If only one slot were to open, and Takanosho were to finish with a better record than Terunofuji, the banzuke committee would have a difficult decision to make.

Division Exchanges

Lots of losses by the demotion contenders on day 12; only Shimanoumi moved closer to safety, and Enho and Kaisei removed themselves from any danger entirely.

Certain to drop to Juryo: Abi and Kyokutaisei.

Likely to drop, barring favorable banzuke luck due to a lack of promotion contenders in Juryo and/or even worse performances by other demotion candidates: Shohozan, Ishiura.

3 wins needed: Kotoshogiku.

2 wins needed: Shimanoumi, Ichinojo, Hoshoryu*. *3 if everything breaks against him.

Not many wins among the Juryo promotion hopefuls. J2w Kotonowaka (9-3) remains the only man certain to rise to the top division. Fellow Sadagotake beya J2e Kotoyuki, 7-4, still needs a win to secure his kachi-koshi, which would almost certainly to see him promoted. J11w Chiyonokuni, 11-1, now leads the yusho race by 2 wins, and 2 more will not only clinch the championship but should return him to Makuuchi. Several other Juryo rikishi remain in the running for a lucky ticket to the top division.

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. J14 Kitaharima (5-7) needs to win out to survive, and J12 Daishoho (5-7) needs 2. Everyone else has done enough to stay, so anywhere between 2 and 6 slots could be open.

Of the 7 rikishi still in contention in the Makushita promotion zone, only one was in action today: Ms1w Jokoryu (4-3), who got his kachi-koshi while handing Kitaharima his 7th loss, and will likely return to the salaried ranks for the first time since January 2019. Another promotion should be decided tomorrow in a Darwin match between Ms1e Takagenji and Ms3w Sakigake, both 3-3. The other 3-3 man, Ms5e Kotodaigo, will be last in the promotion queue even if he wins his final bout, and would need 6 slots to open. Ms2e Chiyonoumi and Ms4w Naya, both 4-2, and Ms5w Ura (5-1), are not on tomorrow’s torikumi, and will have to wait until the final weekend to have their fates decided.

16 thoughts on “Aki Storylines, Day 12

  1. There is a not too unlikely world, where the winner of Sakigake vs Takagenji doesn’t move up, if it’s Sakigake. Jokoryu and Chiyonoumi are already ahead of him. Ura could already be ahead of him will definitely be with a win in his last bout, same as Naya.
    With Endo dropping out, I think there won’t be any more matches between Juryo and Makushita, unless thereis another Kyujo? That would probably mean that Naya&Chiyonoumi are paired and Ura maybe fights Yago.

    • Fair enough, hard to know what they will do with the two absent guys, and Daishoho may yet hang on. They could schedule cross-division exchange bouts though, even if they’re not mandated by kyujo, no?

        • Oh right, there’s an odd number in Juryo with the one retirement and two kyujo. And sending him up against demotion candidate Daishoho makes a lot of sense. At the top of Juryo, we have the bout of infinite sadness: the ghost of Ikioi (2-10) vs. one-armed, Makushita bound Oki, 0-12.

          • They ran out of decent opponents for Oki a long time ago, apart from Ikioi. I suppose they could have saved this horror for Day 15.

        • Somehow I overlooked that yesterday, as it surely must have been posted by the time I made this post. Anyway, without spoiling here, with todays results we have a bit more clarity ;)

  2. This probably belongs in the preview thread, but that always comes out when I’m asleep and by the next morning the action has usually reached juryo at least…

    At this point in a tightly contested basho, it is customary to express the hope that we will get a play off, because play-offs are excitable and we all love them. This time around though, I just can’t seem to summon up that feeling. I don’t know what this says about me psychologically the parity aspect is starting to bother me, and I am craving some dominance. In tomorrow’s big match I want to see one of two things; either Takakeisho landing flat on his back in the centre of the dohyo after a perfectly executed throw, or Shodai being propelled into Row Z by a blast of amphibian fury. And then the winner beats Asanoyama in a similar fashion. Please, please, let’s not have one of those endlessly replayed moments where we argue whether Shodai stepped out before Taka’s elbow hit the ground.

    There must be a happy medium between an uber-Yokozuna winning five out of every six basho on the one hand and the sumo gods just rolling the dice on the other.

    • The storylines posts have been filling in for the previews for the last couple of days, so this is entirely well-placed. I have a strong rooting interest in scenario #1.

      • Honestly, the storylines post covers things exceedingly well. There may be a short Preview post today to cover my opinions on the matches for day 13, but that comes back to intensity of the remaining hours of work.

        • Thank you, and likewise with your promotion/demotion thread—I have added appreciation for those posts since I know first-hand how much work they take.

    • While everything feels like the rikishi are all “performing at the same level”, I really don’t think that’s the case at this point. Takakeisho is injured (or at least dealing with some kind of arm issue) and has a fusensho. Asanoyama lost to Endo, Takanosho, and Terunofuji and is in the race on the back of two funsensho. Shodai, who has zero fusensho and only one bad performance (when he lost to Okinoumi), is surprisingly the “best performing rikishi” right now.

      The only way this basho gets “interesting” is if both Takakeisho and Shodai lose more than once. And that’s only the case if Asanoyama wins out. Can you say that at least two of those things will happen with any surety? Either Takakeisho or Shodai will lose tomorrow. But, beyond that? I honestly don’t see it happening.

    • I think you sum up spectator attitudes towards sport – well at least mine anyway. When there is someone dominant in a sport we crave a bit of variety and competition. When anyone can win anytime we crave some sort of dominance.

      The happy medium for me is 2 or 3 who are likely to win each time.

      • It was quite something when Hakuho’s regular final six opponents were Terunofuji, Kotoshogiku, Goeido, Kisenosato, Kakuryu, and Harumafuji.

  3. Piggy backing on the preview and story line ideas.

    For Day 13 we have Diagonishiki (0-0-6) facing Hattorizakura (0-6) in a showdown for the Jk Zilcho-Yusho. This is a rematch of their Day 13 meeting in July where they brought the same (0-0-6 vs 0-6) records into the bout.

    As Andy has previously reported – “Using body-mass index, Hattorizakura has the lowest BMI at 21.6, dwarfed by Daigonishiki’s 60.72.”

    Daigonishiki enjoys a 2-0 career advantage over Hattorizakura.

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