Well, maximum chaos failed to materialize, but the race is far from over. Yokozuna Terunofuji (11-2) defeated Sekiwake Mitakeumi to maintain a one-win lead. The ranks of his pursuers have been thinned considerably. Three rank-and-filers—Onosho, Myogiryu, and Endo—trail by a victory, with a fourth—Okinoumi—still mathematically in the race win 9 wins. Everyone else is out of contention.
A win by Terunofuji tomorrow over Ozeki Takakeisho would guarantee him at least a playoff spot if not an outright championship. A loss would open the door to up to a 4-way tie going into Day 15. Onosho, Myogiryu, Endo, and Okinoumi have all been given san’yaku opponents: Meisei, Shodai, Ichinojo and Mitakeumi, respectively. If Terunofuji is in the lead after tomorrow, he should face Shodai on Day 15; otherwise, he’ll likely be matched head-to-head with his highest-ranked 11-win challenger.
Mitakeumi has locked down his East Sekiwake slot for his 17th appearance at the rank, which will tie for 8th all-time. Takayasu (4-8-1) will vacate his Komusubi slot. The other two san’yaku slots are still in play: Meisei (6-7) needs to win out to extend his maiden appearance at Sekiwake, but can limit his fall to Komusubi if he goes 1-1. Ichinojo (7-6) needs to go 1-1 or better to stay at Komusubi, and could even move up to Sekiwake if Meisei falters.
Onosho and M1w Takanosho (7-6) are now the leading contenders for the first open san’yaku slot, trailed by Kiribayama, Daieisho, Wakatakakage, Okinoumi, Myogiryu, and Endo.
M16w Tokushoryu (3-10) is certain to be demoted. Juryo yusho race leader Abi (11-2) has locked up his long-awaited return to the top division. The M15 duo of Ichiyamamoto and Chiyonoo, both 4-9, now have demotable records, which means that J1w Akua (8-5) and J3w Sadanoumi (9-4) should also be back up in Makuuchi after 2 and 4 basho in Juryo, respectively.
M14e Kaisei (5-8) still needs a win for safety, as does M13w Tsurugisho (5-8). The remaining realistic promotion candidates are J4e veteran Shohozan (8-5) and J9e Nishikifuji (10-3).
Three Juryo slots are open: one by Takagenji’s removal and two by the performances of the J13 duo Takakento (3-10) and Asashiyu (the former Murata), who’s looked completely outclassed in his sekitori debut to the tune of a 1-12 record. Four other second-division men go into the final weekend seeking a win to ensure a return.
Down in Makushita, we have two rikishi guaranteed to make their salaried debuts: Ms1e Terasawa (5-1) and Ms2e Hiradoumi (5-2). Ms2w Kotokuzan (4-2) can bounce right back up to Juryo with a win or a loss by Ms1w Chiyoarashi (3-3); the latter, along with the Ms4 duo Jokoryu and Kotoyusho, both 3-3, must win and hope for favorable outcomes in other bouts.