If you have not read lksumo’s post on the macro-situation in the top two divisions going into the final weekend, go read it now. As always, he is Team Tachiai’s pro at knowing the chances for promotion and demotion, and it’s worth the read.
There are 5 rikishi up for kachi-koshi today, and 6 up for make-koshi. I expect at least half in each group to make their 8th and affirm their promotion or demotion for November. Then there is the broad group of 6-6 rikishi, 8 in all, who are prime candidates for Darwin matches. To make it to that state is going to require them to win one, and lose one over the next 2 days. If the schedulers were being complete bastards, this group of 8 would only fight between each other, with the goal of carrying them all to 7-7 to start day 15. but it looks like that is not quite the case.
Today’s action should be fast and brutal, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
With Terunofuji’s day 12 loss to Meisei, the yusho race has broadened considerably. The group 1 win behind do not have a single yusho between them, and I expect that none of them will be able to mount a respectable challenge. The group 2 wins behind contains 3 rikishi with prior yusho, but for them to get in range, it will require someone to put Terunofuji on the clay for a 3rd loss.
Hunt Group: Onosho, Okinoumi, Myogiryu, Endo
Chasers: Shodai, Takakeisho, Mitakeumi, Chiyonokuni
3 matches remain
What We Are Watching Day 13
Kagayaki vs Tochinoshin – I am surprised that Tochinoshin has manage to get his score to 6-6. In the early days of this basho, he looked ready for the barber. But like so many long suffering veterans, he found some way to fight around his injuries and squeeze out enough wins to keep him in the hunt. He’s not kachi-koshi yet, but even if he “loses out” he is going to survive in the top division to November. He has a 7-2 career record against Kagayaki, and if those goes to Oshi-zumo like Tochinoshin’s day 12 match against Chiyonokuni, its going to be painful.
Yutakayama vs Hidenoumi – Yutakayama can pick up kachi-koshi if he can overcome his 0-6 career deficit against Hidenoumi. A Yutakayama win would send Hidenoumi to his 8th loss, but I think we will more likely see Hidenoumi take home the win.
Aoiyama vs Tsurugisho – Two massive near 200kg guys smashing it out – what could be better? Oh yeah, if Tsurugisho loses today, he’s make-koshi. In spite of the pain he is in every day, I guess he’s going to summon everything he can for these last 3 matches. Aoiyama at 6-6 is in that group that may be eligible for a Darwin match. Lots at stake, so I am expecting a lot of sumo.
Kaisei vs Tobizaru – Tobizaru has a chance to avoid make-koshi today, by staying mobile and not allowing Kaisei to latch on to his mawashi. If he fails to do that, he’s will pick up his 8th loss today.
Tokushoryu vs Terutsuyoshi – Both come in with matching, terrible, 3-9 records. Tokushoryu is already headed to Juryo short of some odd miracle, and Terutsuyoshi is now wearing his 4th make-koshi in the past year. This is a battle of the miserable, and I hope both men come back strong in November.
Shimanoumi vs Ichiyamamoto – A first time match up, and a Shimanoumi loss today would be make-koshi for him. It’s clear that Ichiyamamoto is still fighting hurt, and will be returning to Juryo in all likelihood.
Ura vs Chiyonoo – Both men are make-koshi, and Chiyonoo is likely on his way back to Juryo. So today is all about setting up how far down the banzuke Ura will fall. He’s got a chance to “win out” now, and end up in the middle of the rank and file in November. Ura has a 4-2 career advantage, and I am hoping he is past some of the poor sumo that plagued is day 12 match against Chiyotairyu.
Chiyoshoma vs Kotoeko – I now think one of the great stories of this basho could be Kotoeko’s come back. If he manages to pick up 2 wins, he could be kachi-koshi. Given his 4 match winning streak, I wonder if he is going to be able to make it work. He holds a 9-4 career lead over Chiyoshoma, who could use another win or two to keep him from falling too far down the banzuke.
Chiyotairyu vs Daieisho – Winner gets kachi-koshi, and given Chiyotairyu’s 6-2 hot streak, its going to be up to him to blast Daieisho at the tachiai before he can set up his big thrusting attack. If you want to see an explosive tachiai, this could be your match.
Wakatakakage vs Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru can reach kachi-koshi if he can overcome Wakatakakage’s speed and agility. Working in Chiyomaru’s favor – his absolutely enormous belly. His personal bollard, it makes it tough to do anything other than try to grab his head. Wakatakakage’s best attack route is to get to the side and attack.
Endo vs Kiribayama – Kiribayama has lost the last 2 in a row, and is still trying to come up with his 8th win. If he should prevail over Endo (they have a 1-1 career record), he would knock Endo out of the group 1 win behind Terunofuji. Both men have a lot on the line today, and I expect them both to be at maximum energy for this match.
Chiyonokuni vs Takanosho – A Maegashira 17 takes on a Maegashira 1, I am sure someone in the torikumi group was itching to do this, so here we are. Grumpy Badger Chiyonokuni is going to try to knock Takanosho into a 7th loss, and set him up for a Darwin match on day 15. Chiyonokuni has never won a match against Takanosho in 3 attempts, so it’s a tall order indeed.
Hoshoryu vs Tamawashi – Tamawashi is one loss away from make-koshi. He has had a middling tournament through and through, with a standout win against Takakeisho on day 6. Hoshoryu comes into day 13 at 3-9, and is going to take a big fall down the banzuke no matter what. His sumo is still getting stronger with each tournament, and if he gets pushed too far down the November ranking, he’s going to tear up his peers.
Okinoumi vs Ichinojo – Ichinojo is at 6-6, and needs 2 more wins to hang on to his sna’yaku posting. He has absolutely pounded the stuffing out of his last 3 opponents, and Okinoumi is going to need to mind his sumo today. Ichinojo has a 6-2 career lead, and it’s going to be rough.
Takarafuji vs Meisei – Meisei is coming from a day 12 win over Yokozuna Terunofuji, and may be on a well deserved adrenalin high. Takarafuji has had two rough matches in the past two days, and needs to win 2 more to hit kachi-koshi. I don’t have a good idea how this one is going to play out, but I think that Meisei has an advantage today.
Myogiryu vs Takakeisho – Myogiryu has lost every one of the 13 matches where he faced Takakeisho. This may have been a “gimmie” match to save Takakeisho should he have dropped his day 12 bout with Takarafuji. Myogiryu is part of the group one win behind Terunofuji, and I expect him to pick up loss #4 today.
Shodai vs Onosho – Another match intended to pick off one of the 9-4 chasers, but I don’t think that this one is a sure thing. Onosho is disposed to hot and cold streaks, and there is no denying he is enjoying a hot streak this September. I think there will be a narrow window where Onosho can blast Shodai into submission, but it may only be 3 steps before Shodai’s “wall of daikon” defenses kick in, and remove any chance for the junior tadpole to reach double digits.
Mitakeumi vs Terunofuji – The big match, it’s Mitakeumi’s chance to create an opportunity for his 3rd yusho. He has not beating Terfunofuji since Aki 2020, and has lost 5 in a row. The odds are not in his favor. But that discounts motivation. We don’t know what kind of shape Terunofuji’s knees are in. That dohyo-iri may in fact be taking a toll on his fighting ability, as we are seeing him drop matches into week 2. So all eyes will be on this one, with Mitakeumi wanting to end the match in the first 3 steps, and Terunofuji working to stalemate the original tadpole, and shut him down.