Things are coming down to the wire in the Makushita yusho and promotion races. After 11 days and six rounds of action, we have two undefeated rikishi, who will fight it out for the title.
The bout for the yusho pairs rikishi from opposite ends of the division: Ms1e Tokihayate and Ms54w Tochiseiryu. Top-ranked Tokihayate, with a Juryo basho under his belt, is the clear favorite against the lower-division journeyman, but strange things tend to happen in the Makushita yusho race.
At 6-0, Tokihayate is a lock for re-promotion to Juryo, taking the spot of absent Fujiseiun. J14w Chiyonoumi (3-8) is now demotable, likely opening up a second slot, and several other incumbents need a lot of wins for safety. Four rikishi are still in contention for any openings and will be looking for wins in their final bouts. Nishonoseki beya’s golden boy Ms3e Onosato has slumped to a 3-3 record, as has Miyagino’s Ms3w Mukainakano. Both must win their final matches, which are quite likely to be exchange bouts against endangered Juryo incumbents. Ms4w Takahashi (4-2) and Ms5e Ishizaki (4-2) are in better shape in that they’re already kachi-koshi, but their lower ranks mean that promotion is far from assured, and it’s not even clear if they would have precedence over the Ms3 duo should all win out. There is no relevant Day 12 action in Makushita, as the schedulers wait to see how things shake out in lower Juryo.