Congratulations to Yokozuna Terunofuji on battling back from early losses to claim his 7th career yusho, passing Kakuryu and moving into a tie for 20th all-time. He will continue to occupy the top rung on the rankings ladder. Let’s take a preliminary look at how the Natsu results are likely to reshuffle the rest of the banzuke.
Not an impressive performance by the Ozeki corps, to say the least! Takakeisho scraped together 8 wins to avoid kadoban; he was the best of the bunch, and as a result, will occupy the O1e rank. Mitakeumi (6-9) will move over to O1w, while his fellow kadoban Shodai (5-10) will be at O2w; both need a minimum of 8 wins in July to keep their rank.
S1e Wakatakakage (9-6) defended his rank, and despite Bruce’s comments, I believe he has kept his Ozeki run alive, though his target for July is probably 12 wins. He beat his fellow Sekiwake S1w Abi (7-8) on senshuraku, and as a result Abi will switch places with K1w Daieisho (11-4). K1e Hoshoryu (8-7) did just enough to keep his rank.
All regular san’yaku slots will be occupied by incumbents, and recent history suggests that neither M2e Kiribayama (10-5) nor M4w Takanosho (11-4) did enough to force open an extra slot. The two should occupy the M1 rank, although we do have the complication of M1w Ichinojo, who should have rank protection due to his virus-related absence. There’s precedent, at least in Juryo, for slight demotions of such absentees when the rest of the banzuke requires it, and we may see this come into play here for the first time in Makuuchi.
M2w Kotonowaka and M3w Tamawashi, both 9-6, are also in the conversation here, while the rest of the joi will be filled out by the likes of M6e Ura (9-6), M6w Wakamotoharu (9-6), M1e Takayasu (6-9), M4e Endo (7-8) and M12w Sadanoumi (11-4).
Exchanges between Makuuchi and Juryo
This is a little tricky to forecast. There are four clear demotions: Ishiura, Kotokuzan, Kagayaki, and Azumaryu. Everyone else ought to be safe, but the M14 duo Oho and Yutakayama, both 6-9, are right on the border. The only reason this could come into play is that the promotion queue in Juryo is six-rikishi-long and somewhat muddled.
J2w Tsurugisho (10-5) has an overwhelming promotion case, and J1e Chiyomaru (8-7) should also definitely get the nod by virtue of having a winning record at the highest rank in the division. After that, there are 4 more contenders with promotable records: J1w Hidenoumi (8-7), J3w Ryuden (9-6), J6e Daiamami (11-4) and J6w Nishikifuji (11-4). By virtue of their ranks, Hidenoumi should be ahead of Ryuden and Daiamami should be ahead of Nishikifuji, despite the latter winning their playoff bout for the yusho, but I am not sure how to order the J6’s relative to their higher-ranked counterparts. Also, it’s not clear if any of the promotion cases are strong enough to force down Yutakayama or (somewhat less likely) Oho, so any of the four could miss out.
I’ve covered the likely exchanges between Juryo and Makushita in a separate post.