There’s not much to say about the yusho race that hasn’t been said already. Let’s look at what is at stake further down the banzuke.
Ozeki Shodai (7-5) needs one more win to avoid going kadoban, and unless he can upset one of the two leaders, he may have to get it against Takayasu on senshuraku.
Takayasu (7-3-2) similarly needs one more win to stay Sekiwake, and may also be in a must-win position on Day 15. On the bright side, he is guaranteed to fall no lower than Komusubi. Fellow Sekiwake Mitakeumi (6-6) needs two victories to hold rank, and one to stay in san’yaku. Shin-Komusubi Meisei (6-6) is looking for two wins to avoid an immediate return to the rank-and-file, while the other newcomer to the rank, Wakatakakage (3-9), has already failed to stave off demotion.
M2w Ichinojo (8-4) is the front-runner for the open Komusubi slot. Should he falter, or should more slots open up, the other promotion candidates include M5w Hoshoryu (8-4), M3e Hokutofuji (7-5), M2e Takanosho (6-6), and M6w Kiribayama (8-4).
At the other end of the scale, several rikishi have yet to do enough to ensure a stay in the top division. In the worst shape are M14e Daiamami (3-9) and M15w Tokushoryu (4-8), who need to win out. J1e Yutakayama (9-3) is assured of promotion, and Juryo co-leader J6w Mitoryu (10-2) is one win away. At the moment, J2e Kyokutaisei (7-5) sits on the promotion/demotion bubble with M13e Chiyomaru (4-8). The promotion hopes of J2w Akua (6-6) and J3 Wakamotoharu (6-6) rest on piling up wins and hoping for losing streaks by M12e Tochinoshin (4-8) and M17e Ichiyamamoto (7-5).
At the bottom of Juryo, injured Akiseyama and suspended Ryuden will be falling to Makushita along with J13w Kotokuzan (2-10). J12e Daishoho (4-8) is the other most-endangered sekitori. The race for promotion from the third division to the second should get clearer tomorrow, but one thing is for certain: Hakuho’s protege Ms2w Hokuseiho (6-0) will be making his much-awaited sekitori debut after only six professional tournaments (not counting the one he sat out with the rest of his stable due to the virus). Ahead of his yusho-deciding bout against collegiate sensation Ishizaki, Hokuseiho’s record in the lower divisions stands at 38-3, with 7-0 yusho in Jonokuchi, Jonidan, and Sandanme.