Makushita Final Four

The Makushita yusho race is down to the four semifinalists.

Yesterday, we went through the quarterfinal bracket:

  • Ms3w Kawazoe vs. Ms6e Shiden
  • Ms19e Yoshii vs. Ms26e Ryuo
  • Ms27w Kayo vs. Ms43 Kairyu
  • Ms50e Kaizen vs. Ms59 Kainoshima

Here’s how this played out:

Kawazoe and Shiden locked up, and the veteran used his size advantage to drive the prospect back and out, with Kawazoe unable to pull off one of his patented utchari rescue moves. Yoshii and Ryuo appeared to go down together, with the gumbai going to Yoshii, followed by a monoii that reversed the decision and gave the victory to Ryuo. Kayo dominated Kairyu, while Kaizen prevailed after a back-and-forth battle Kainoshima.

This leaves us with Shiden vs. Ryuo and Kayo vs. Kaizen on Day 11. Kayo and Ryuo are in the same heya, so if both win, they would be given 5-1 opponents on Day 13, potentially opening the door to a multi-way playoff on the final day among 6-1 rikishi. Shiden, of course, has Juryo promotion on the line if he can win out.

After 5 rounds of bouts, we are left with only four realistic contenders in the Ms1-Ms5 promotion zone. In rough order of likelihood, they are:

  1. Ms2w Chiyosakae (4-1)
  2. Ms3w Kawazoe (4-1)
  3. Ms2e Fujiseiun (3-2)
  4. Ms1e Tsukahara (2-3)

Top-ranked Tsukahara must win out, but would jump to the head of the queue if he does. Fujiseiun needs at least one more win, and is very likely to go up with two. Chiyosakae and Kawazoe may have done enough already depending on other results, but of course will be seeking wins to bolster their cases (they’ve already fought, with Kawazoe prevailing, and so will probably see Juryo opponents).

Ms3e Tokihayate (2-3), Ms4w Kaisho (2-3), Ms5e Chiyonoumi (3-2), and Ms5w Tochikamiyama (2-3) are all long shots and must hope for losses by the other contenders and/or a meltdown in Juryo.


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