The Yusho Race
Let’s quickly run through the scenarios:
- Terunofuji and Mitakeumi win their Day 14 bouts to go 12-2. Everyone else is eliminated, and the yusho is decided in the final bout between the two.
- Terunofuji wins to go to 12-2, dropping Abi to 10-4. Mitakeumi loses, dropping him to 11-3. Mitakeumi can force a playoff by beating Terunofuji on Day 15, and the playoff can be joined by Kotonowaka (10-3) if he wins his final two.
- Terunofuji loses to go to 11-3, tying him with Abi. Mitakeumi wins to go to 12-2. Now Terunofuji is the one who would need to win to force a playoff, which can be joined by Abi or Kotonowaka, but probably not both, since I am expecting them to be matched up on Day 15.
- Terunofuji and Mitakeumi both lose, making both of them plus Abi, and possibly Kotonowaka, 11-3. If all 4 are indeed tied, and the schedulers pair them up, we’re guaranteed a playoff between the winners. Otherwise, it either an outright yusho or a playoff against one or both maegashira for the winner of Terunofuji vs. Mitakeumi.
K1e Meisei (5-8) and K1w Daieisho (5-8) are both make-koshi, and should be dropping back into the rank-and-file. S1e Mitakeumi will either stay Sekiwake or move up. S1w Takanosho (6-7) needs one more win to be ranked no lower than Komusubi, and two to hold rank. The two leading promotion contenders are Abi and Wakatakakage (who, as the top-ranked maegashira, should get first dibs if he’s kachi-koshi). Just behind them is Onosho, with Ura, Ichinojo, Hoshoryu, Tamawashi, and Takarafuji all within striking distance with only two days to go!
J2e Kotoshoho (10-3) and J1e Kagayaki (8-5) have earned a return to the top division. They’ll be taking the spots vacated by absent Hidenoumi and Kaisei. J4w Kotokuzan (9-4) needs another win to make a top-division debut. The others with promotion chances are Nishikigi, Tohakuryu, and Daiamami.
The most endangered incumbents are Tsurugisho and Ichiyamamoto, who need two wins to stay in Makuuchi. One win should do it for Chiyonokuni, Oho, and Akua, while Tochinoshin and Yutakayama could also use one more as insurance. Everyone else is already safe. Key matchups tomorrow include Oho vs. Akua, with the winner safe from demotion, as well as the crossover bout between Nishikigi and Ichiyamamoto.
I’ve covered the Juryo/Makushita exchange picture elsewhere.