It’s too early to analyze the yusho race, or to look at possible changes in the san’yaku ranks (at the moment, only Takanosho’s record stands below .500 among the incumbents, and Daieisho and Takarafuji lead the queue of potential promotion candidates). And there are no Ozeki runs to talk about. So without enough material for a full “storylines” post, I thought I’d take a quick look at the division exchange picture.
Makuuchi demotion candidates
Absent M15w Kotoyuki will be dropping deep into Juryo. One-win M11w Enho and two-win M13w Ichinojo are in deepest trouble, looking for 4 wins apiece in the remaining 6 days to stay in the top division. Sadanoumi and Yutakayama each need 3, while Akua and Chiyoshoma should be safe with 2. Everyone else has either locked down a place in Makuuchi for January already, or will do so with one more win.
Juryo promotion candidates
J2e Midorifuji (7-2) leads the promotion race. He should secure a much-awaited top-division debut with two more wins, and even one might be enough. J1e Akiseyama (5-4) would earn promotion with 3 wins. J3e Ishiura (5-4) likely needs to go 4-2 or better for a quick return to Makuuchi, while everyone else needs to win at least 5 of 6, or rely on a large number of demotions from the top division.
Juryo demotion candidates
Still-suspended Abi will complete his drop out of the sekitori ranks. Winless J14e Fujiazuma got a one-basho reprieve due to the Tamanoi beya COVID situation, but will now be returning to Makushita. J13w Nishikifuji (1-8) needs to win out to avoid demotion. J8w Ikioi (2-7) likely needs to split his remaining 6 bouts to stave off a drop (or retirement). And the last man on the second-division banzuke, J14w Chiyonoumi (6-3) is looking to record 2 more wins. Everyone else is either already safe, or will be with one more win. And of course, another slot in Juryo will open up with Kotoshogiku’s intai. I’ll take a look at who might move up into these slots a little later in the tournament.