With two days to go, here’s where things stand. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the role that the COVID-related withdrawals are playing in all aspects of this tournament.
We have two leaders, Yokozuna Terunofuji and M2 Ichinojo at 11-2, followed by Ozeki Takakeisho (10-3), with M14 Myogiryu and M17 Nishikifuji still mathematically in the race with 9 wins. Realistically it should come down to the top 3. Tomorrow’s key bouts are as follows. One of these is clearly not like the others, but it’s getting increasingly challenging to find credible opponents for Ichinojo, who has faced everyone in the upper ranks.
- Terunofuji vs. Ozeki Shodai
- Takakeisho vs. Sekiwake Wakatakakage
- Ichinojo vs. M10 Meisei
O1e Takakeisho (10-3) is kachi-koshi, as is O2w Shodai (8-5) who has cleared kadoban. O1w Mitakeumi‘s (2-4*) fate is unknown.
S1e Wakatakakage (7-6) will stay in the named ranks, but still needs a win to stay Sekiwake. S1w Daieisho (6-6*) has now joined the ranks of COVID-kyujo rikishi, and his fate is unknown. K1e Hoshoryu (8-5) will stay in san’yaku and possibly move higher. K1w Abi (7-6) needs one more win to hold rank. The obvious promotion candidate, should a slot open, is M2w Ichinojo (11-2), whose score is getting strong enough that an extra san’yaku slot may be a possibility, especially if top-ranked maegashira M1e Kiribayama (6-7) manages to fight his way back from 4-7 to kachi-koshi.
The record of M16w Daiamami (2-8-2*) is beyond salvaging, and he will be making an immediate return to the second division. With M17w Chiyomaru‘s (5-8) defeat of M9e Shimanoumi (1-12), both are now in demotable territory, and must win out and hope for losses by Juryo contenders. Juryo leader J1e Ryuden (11-2) is still the only one with a strong promotion case, and he will take Daiamami’s place in the top division. The other best-placed Juryo contenders are J4w Mitoryu and J5e Chiyonokuni, both 8-5.
I’ve covered the Juryo/Makushita exchange picture in my previous post.