Well, against many expectations, we’ve made it to the final weekend of the Hatsu basho! The two-horse yusho race has been well-covered, as have the fates of the Ozeki trio, but what else is still at stake?
The san’yaku ranks
East Sekiwake Terunofuji and both Komusubi—Takayasu and Mitakeumi—are kachi-koshi, which means that they will at least keep their ranks, and Takayasu could move up. That’s because West Sekiwake Takanosho (7-6) would drop to Komusubi should he lose his two final bouts. Oh, and this time we’ll have an extra san’yaku slot for sure, as M1w Daieisho (11-2) has surely done enough this time to force at least a Komusubi slot, and another win or two could seem him vault all the way to Sekiwake. This probably leaves Takarafuji and Onosho at the top of the maegashira ranks no matter how they finish.
M17e Sadanoumi (5-8) will almost certainly be heading down even with two more wins. M13e Akua (4-9) can save himself by winning out, while M8e Tokushoryu (2-11) needs one more win and M12w Terutsuyoshi (5-8) could use one for insurance. Everyone else should be safely in the top division.
There’s not exactly a long list of Juryo contenders beating down the door, which is not surprising given the greatly depleted ranks of the second division. Leading the promotion race is the likely yusho winner, J8e Tsurugisho (11-2). The other contenders are J1w Daiamami (7-6), J6w Hidenoumi (9-4), and J3w Churanoumi (7-6).
J14e Ryuko (4-9) will be heading right back down, and J11w Oho (4-9) and J7w Nishikigi (2-11) could well be joining him unless they win out. Several others are still looking for a win to stay in the paid ranks. There are already 5 winning records in the Makushita promotion zone, and Daishoho could make it 6, so the exchange picture will be interesting and someone will miss out due to bad banzuke luck.
Makushita barnyard brawl!!!
Last but not least, we will have a nine-way playoff for the Makushita yusho! No, that’s not a misprint. As usual, two rikishi went into day 13 with 6-0 records, but because they hail from the same heya, they could not be matched head-to-head ad instead faced 5-1 opponents. Both lost, letting their opponents and 5 other lucky men into the playoff, which will feature everyone from Ms5w promotion candidate and recent sekitori Nishikifuji to the last man in the dvision, Ms60w Fukamiyama.
I believe the protocol here is they draw straws for a bye, the other 8 are paired up and we’re down to 5, another drawing of straws, 4 rikishi paired up, and we’re down to 3, who enter the usual tomoe-sen in which the first wrestler to win two consecutive bouts is the champion.