Sumo fans all over the world can’t wait for the Day 15 clash between the two top-ranked men on the banzuke, both 14-0 for only the 6th such matchup in sumo history. Let’s look at what is at stake further down the banzuke.
Ozeki Shodai (7-7) needs one more win to avoid going kadoban. He will have to get it in what is set to be one heck of an undercard “Darwin bout” against Takayasu (7-5-2) on senshuraku.
Two Sekiwake slots are spoken for: one by the demotion of suspended Ozeki Asanoyama and the other by the newly kachi-koshi incumbent Mitakeumi (8-6). Takayasu (7-4-2) can claim a third by defeating Shodai. A loss would drop him to Komusubi. If Takayasu wins and shin-Komusubi Meisei (7-7) loses his own “Darwin bout” against Kagayaki, two Komusubi slots will open. The opposite set of results would leave none, while anything in between will leave just one.
M2w Ichinojo (9-5) has now locked up the first slot, should one open. If a second Komusubi slot becomes available, it will go to the winner of the bout between M3e Hokutofuji (8-6) and M5w Hoshoryu (9-5).
At the other end of the scale, we have one guaranteed exchange between Makuuchi and Juryo, with M14e Daiamami (4-10) going down and J1e Yutakayama (10-4) taking his place. Beyond that, things are less clear. J6w Mitoryu (11-3) has a promotable record, but there isn’t yet a second demotable top-division rikishi. The candidates for the infamous “Juryo barge” are M15w Tokushoryu (6-8), the last man on the banzuke—M17e Ichiyamamoto (7-7)—and potentially M16e Chiyonokuni (7-7), who faces a man 14 ranks above him, M2e Takanosho (7-7), in—you guessed it—another Darwin bout. A loss there and wins by Mitoryu, Ichiyamamoto, and Tokushoryu could yet send Chiyonokuni down.
The only other man in the mix for promotion is J2w Akua (8-6), who most likely needs to beat Ishiura and have Ichiyamamoto and Tokushoryu lose in order to return to the top division.
Finally, we have an exciting yusho race in Juryo. In addition to Mitoryu, former top-division mainstay Abi also sports an 11-3 record. The two have already faced off, so if one wins and the other loses, there’s your champion. If both win, we’ll have a playoff rematch, while if both lose, the playoff will be joined by the winner of the bout between Yutakayama and Kaisho (10-4), who is having a breakout tournament. Tune in tomorrow to find out!