The Yusho Race
We are down to 2 co-leaders with 11-2 records: Sekiwake Shodai and surprise of the tournament, maegashira 14 Tobizaru. Four additional wrestlers—Ozeki Takakeisho and Asanoyama and high-performing maegashira Wakatakakage and Onosho—are one off the pace at 10-3. Everyone else has at least 5 losses and is mathematically out of contention.
Tomorrow’s bouts could leave us with one leader, or as many as six. In any case, the yusho race will come down to the final day. The key bouts are Takakeisho vs. Tobizaru (first-ever meeting), Asanoyama vs. Shodai (4-3 edge to the Ozeki), Wakatakakage vs. Mitakeumi (first-ever meeting), and Onosho vs. Takanosho (head-to-head tied at 2-2). Should both leaders win, they seem certain to be matched up directly for the championship on senshuraku; other scenarios are too complex to analyze before we know the results of day 14 bouts.
The Named Ranks
Both Ozeki are in the chase group, and could start a Yokozuna challenge with a yusho. Co-leader Shodai has successfully defended his rank, can still hope for an Ozeki promotion and, barring that, should need at most 11 wins to finish a successful run in November. West Sekiwake Mitakeumi (7-6) will remain in san’yaku but still needs one win in the final 2 days to maintain his rank; his Ozeki run is all but over.
Shin-Sekiwake Daieisho (4-9) will drop out of san’yaku along with both Komusubi, Okinoumi and Endo. The number of open san’yaku slots is 2, unless Shodai creates a third by earning promotion, and they seem all but certain to be filled by M1e Terunofuji and M1w Takanosho, both 8-5.
With all the active demotion candidates paired up, Shimanoumi, Hoshoryu, and Ichinojo moved closer to safety, all but sealing the demotions of Shohozan, Ishiura, and Kotoshogiku.
Certain to drop to Juryo: Abi and Kyokutaisei.
Hard to see how they’d stay up, even with two wins and favorable banzuke luck: Shohozan, Ishiura.
Needs two wins and some banzuke luck: Kotoshogiku.
Safe with one more win; might already be okay depending on what happens in Juryo: Shimanoumi, Ichinojo, Hoshoryu (Hoshoryu technically needs 2 wins to absolutely guarantee safety).
Moving up to the top division: J2w Kotonowaka (9-4).
Certain to move up with another win, and has probably done enough already: J2e Kotoyuki, 8-5.
Should move up with another win, might move up anyway: J11w Chiyonokuni, 12-1, the Juryo yusho race leader.
As many as six other Juryo rikishi remain in the running for a lucky ticket to the top division.
The Makushita-Juryo exchange picture is complicated by the mandated absences and uncertain banzuke fates of J7 Azumaryu and J14 Fujiazuma, as well as the possibility of sekitori intai. There are three certain openings in Juryo, one created by Kizakiumi’s retirement and the other two by Oki’s 0-13 sekitori debut and J14 Kitaharima’s (5-8) near-record 8th demotion. J12 Daishoho (6-7) needs 1 win for safety.
In the Makushita promotion zone, Ms1e Takagenji (4-3) clinched a return to the sekitori ranks by winning the Darwin match against Ms3w Sakigake (3-4), eliminating the latter from contention. With 3 open slots, Ms1w Jokoryu (4-3) will also move up. The remaining contenders are Ms2e Chiyonoumi (4-3), Ms4w Naya, 4-2, Ms5w Ura (5-1), and Ms5e Kotodaigo (3-3). Kotodaigo will be last in the promotion queue even if he wins his final bout, and will drop out of contention with a loss. Naya visits Juryo tomorrow to take on Daishoho, will Ura presumably set for a similar visit on senshuraku.