With three days to go, here’s where things stand. For the purposes of this discussion, I will leave out the COVID-kyujo rikishi until the NSK gives us more of an idea of how they’ll handle that mess.
We have two leaders, Yokozuna Terunofuji and M2 Ichinojo at 10-2, followed by Ozeki Takakeisho (9-3) and a motley crew of five rikishi (from Ozeki Shodai to M17 Nishikifuji) with 8 wins. Mathematically, a large group with 7-5 records is still in it, but realistically it should come down to the top 3. Tomorrow’s key bouts:
- Terunofuji vs. Wakatakakage
- Takakeisho vs. Shodai
- Ichinojo vs. Nishikigi
O1e Takakeisho (9-3) is kachi-koshi, as is O2w Shodai (8-4) who has cleared kadoban. O1w Mitakeumi’s fate is unknown.
S1e Wakatakakage (7-5) will stay in the named ranks, but still needs a win to stay Sekiwake, and three to keep any Ozeki conversation going. S1w Daieisho (6-6) needs a win to stay in the named ranks and two to hold rank. K1e Hoshoryu (7-5) needs one more win to stay in san’yaku and possibly move higher should one of the Sekiwake falter. K1w Abi (6-6) needs to win 2 of 3 to hold rank. The obvious promotion candidate, should a slot open, is M2w Ichinojo (10-2).
The record of M16w Daiamami (2-8-2 wins) is now beyond salvaging, and he will be making an immediate return to the second division. M17w Chiyomaru (4-8) is in only slightly better shape, and will be joining Daiamami unless he wins out and gets some remarkable banzuke luck. Hapless newlywed M9e Shimanoumi (1-11) needs 3 more wins for safety; everyone else is probably okay, especially since Juryo leader J1e Ryuden (10-2) is still the only one with a strong promotion case, and anyone hoping to join him now needs to win out.
Absent J10w Ishiura will be dropping to the third division. Among those still participating, those most likely to join him are J11e Kaisei (3-9) and J12w Yago (4-8), who need to win out to be safe. J11w Tochimaru (4-8) is looking for two more wins. Tomorrow, Yago will face Ms1e Takakento (3-3) in the first of what should be a series of exchange bouts over the final days between rikishi looking to switch places across the “heaven/hell” boundary.