Kyushu Promotion/Demotion Picture, Day 12

The Yusho Race

Yokozuna Terunofuji (12-0) leads Ozeki Takakeisho (11-1) and M15 Abi (11-1) by one win with three days to go. Tomorrow, the two chasers are matched up, which means that one of them will also have at least 12 wins. The winner should face Terunofuji, giving one of them at least 13, which means that the 9-3 quartet of Mitakeumi, Tamawashi, Ura and Hokutofuji is already out of contention (there are potential scenarios in which all 3 leaders could finish 12-3, but they seem exceedingly unlikely).

Lower San’yaku

Mitakeumi (9-3) will remain East Sekiwake in January, though his latest attempt to mount an Ozeki bid is looking increasingly feeble. West Sekiwake Meisei (5-7) needs 3 more wins to retain his rank, and 2 to limit his fall to Komusubi. East Komusubi Ichinojo (5-7) needs to win out to hold his rank (and possibly even move up), while West Komusubi Kiribayama (4-8) is now assured of a drop into the rank-and-file on his san’yaku debut.

The open Komusubi slot is now M2w Takanosho‘s (8-4) to lose. Should additional slots open up, M6w Tamawashi (9-3) currently has the next-strongest claim, followed by M7e Ura (9-3). Several others also still nurse faint hopes of promotion.


There will be at least three open slots in the top division: one due to Hakuho’s retirement, one due to Asanoyama’s suspension, and one to be vacated by the lowest man on the banzuke, M17w Shohozan (3-9). M14e Kagayaki (3-9) probably needs to win out to save himself, although 2 wins and banzuke luck might do it. Another Kagayaki fun fact: he is locked in a tight duel with Kotoeko (2-10) for most Makuuchi losses in 2021, with 52 apiece; the only other rikishi in striking distance with 3 bouts to go is Tochinoshin with 50. And of course, the schedulers could not miss the opportunity to match up Kagayaki and Kotoeko tomorrow for the sole “lead.”

M17e Kaisei (6-6) and M13w Tochinoshin (4-8) likely need 2 wins for safety, although one might be enough, while several other rikishi still need another win to guarantee a return. There are not many Juryo men with strong promotion cases, so we may see some lenient stays.

Who is in contention down in the second division? J4w Ichiyamamoto (10-2) and J1w Wakamotoharu (8-4) have almost certainly done enough to move up to Makuuchi. The next best promotion case belongs to J7e Oho (9-3), who still needs two more wins after dropping his last three bouts. Top-ranked J1e Tsurugisho (6-6) can still guarantee a return to the top division with two wins, while J6e Kotoshoho (8-4) probably needs to win out, as does J3w Bushozan (6-6).


Two slots are already open in Juryo, one also due to Hakuho’s retirement and the other due to his protege Hokuseiho’s disappointing early withdrawal in his long-awaited sekitori debut. J9w Kyokutaisei (2-10) is in the worst shape of those participating, and needs to win out to retain his salary. J14e Kyokushuho (6-6) and J10e Yago (4-8) need 2 wins apiece to ensure safety.

Six of the ten wrestlers in the Ms1-Ms5 promotion zone can still finish with a winning record. Four have already clinched it, while the others have 3-3 scores. The only relevant Day 13 action here matches Ms4e Chiyoarashi (4-2) against Kyokutaisei in what is likely an exchange bout.

The Makushita yusho, and a spot in the promotion zone for January, will also be decided on Day 13 when recent Juryo regular Ms33e Chiyonoumi (6-0) faces former Komusubi Ms47w Ryuden (6-0).


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