With 10 days of action in the books, let’s take a look at where things stand.
I don’t think we’ll see any Ozeki promotions this time, but if the NSK is desperate enough, they could consider S1w Hoshoryu (11-4, 8-7, 7-3, all at Sekiwake) or S2e Kiribayama (8-7 K, 11-4 K, 7-3 S) if either can really run up the score. With 7 wins apiece already, they’ll be ranked no lower than Komusubi in May, and one more win would keep both at Sekiwake. Top-ranked S1e Wakatakakage (4-6) needs to win 4 of 5 to maintain rank for the 8th straight basho, and 3 of 5 to stay in San’yaku.
Two of the four Komusubi, K1w Kotonowaka and K2e Daieisho, sport 8-2 records that will at least keep them at the rank; they can make Sekiwake either if spots open up or if they can reach 11 wins. K1e Wakamotoharu (7-3) is a win away from holding rank, while K2w Tobizaru (4-6) has a lot of work left to do.
It’s not clear how many, if any, regular San’yaku slots will open up. The yusho race leader M5w Midorifuji (10-0) is the clear frontrunner for one, with M1w Shodai (6-4) next in line.
No one has confirmed a seat on the Juryo barge yet. M11e Azumaryu (1-9) is in the worst shape, needing 4 wins for safety. M17e Mitoryu (5-5) and M15w Oho (4-6) need 3 apiece, while M14w Bushozan (4-6), M12w Takarafuji (3-7), and M16w Tsurugisho (6-4) need 2.
J1e Asanoyama (9-1) has done more than enough to ensure a return to Makuuchi after two years. J3e Ichinojo (9-1), who is also in the second division only for disciplinary reasons, should likewise be on his way back up, unless there is absolutely no room. J6e Gonoyama (8-2) and J3w Shonannoumi (6-4) are in with a chance, while J1w Tohakuryu (4-6) and J5w Enho (6-4) are long shots who need a lot of wins and help.
I’ll take a separate look at the Juryo-Makushita exchange picture in the near future.