The yusho race
And then there were 3. Ozeki Takakeisho is the sole leader at 12-1. One win back are the man he defeated today, M17 Shimanoumi, and the man we thought would be his main challenger, Komusubi Terunofuji. The chasers are matched up tomorrow, while the leader will face ailing Sekiwake Mitakeumi (6-7), who’ll be trying to play spoiler while avoiding make-koshi. A win by the Ozeki will ensure at least a playoff spot for him and eliminate the loser of the Terunofuji-Shimanoumi bout. Should Takakeisho lose and Terunofuji win, the final bout of the tournament between the two will be for all the marbles. If we get two upsets tomorrow, all three men will stay in contention going into Day 15, with a 3-way playoff in the cards, and Shimanoumi’s uncertain senshuraku opponent (one of the Sekiwake? Takayasu? Daiesho? Hokutofuji?) would have a lot to say about the final outcome.
With 11 wins, Terunofuji has not only clinched a san’yaku slot for January, but done enough to move up to Sekiwake, whether or not a slot is open. Mitakeumi is the most endangered incumbent, with one more loss dropping him to Komusubi while two would see him in the rank-and-file next basho. Takayasu and Takanosho are one win away from defending their ranks, and Takanosho will at least stay in san’yaku. So we could still see as many as two open slots, and as few as zero. M2w Daieisho (8-5) and M4e Hokutofuji (9-4) are now in a virtual tie for the lead in the promotion derby.
Makuuchi demotion candidates
Absent Kotoyuki will be dropping deep into Juryo. Enho will in all likelihood be joining him, as even two wins will leave him with a demotable record. Yutakayama and Sadanoumi still need a win apiece; one of them is guaranteed to get it when they face off tomorrow. Everyone else has probably done enough already, although Akua, Terutsuyoshi, and possibly Chiyoshoma could use an insurance victory.
Juryo promotion candidates
Two slots are now open in the top division, and it looks like the final number will be two or three. One is now spoken for by J2e Midorifuji (9-4). J1e Akiseyama (7-6) would claim another with a win. Should he lose twice, or should a third slot open, the two contenders are J3e Ishiura (8-5) and J4e Chiyomaru (8-5), who are at least kachi-koshi and thus eligible for promotion. Everyone else is probably out of luck, although very slim hopes remain for the J5 duo of Daiamami and Hidenoumi, both 7-6.
Juryo demotion candidates
Four second-division slots are guaranteed to open: three via demotions of Abi, Fujiazuma, and Nishikifuji, and one with Kotoshogiku’s intai. Takagenji and Ikioi stand one win away from safety. Everyone else will stay in the paid ranks.
Makushita promotion candidates
The four definite promotions are now clear: Ms1w Naya (6-1), Makushita yusho winner Ms15w Ryuko (7-0), Ms2e Yago (4-3) and Ms2w Shiraishi (4-3). Ms3e Kitaharima (4-3) needs to hope for a 5th slot, while the 3-3 trio of Bushozan, Terasawa, Kotokuzan (in order of rank) would need a win and a 6th open slot.