Makushita Finals and Promotion Picture

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.

4 thoughts on “Makushita Finals and Promotion Picture

  1. Onosato seems to be a bit of a deception. For the moment he looks more like a silver boy!
    But of course his fate will be decided in Makuuchi, not in Makushita. Maybe we all need a little more patience than we thought, before he arrives there.

    • He also needs a little more patience, although today’s loss was a little more emphatic than his other ones, and he’s now 0-2 against the less-heralded Ishizaki.

      • Yep. This was the first loss that gave me real pause about him; everyone loses here and there and being slightly nervy and over-eager is natural for a still-young man, and can be trained past. But losing more definitively than the first time in a rematch to a smaller man, beaten for technique, is not a great sign. Far too early to say anything definitive about him other than that he’s probably best understood as a developmental prospect, not a plug-and-play monster who’s got it all down already.

        • None of Onosato’s losses so far are to scrubs. Tokihayate was juryo last basho and is the Makushita yusho fave (see above). Kiho is juryo and a fellow former college Yokozuna. And Ishizaki is himself a talented prospect pushing for promotion. He’s got all the physical tools to be great, but as Iksumo says, he needs more patience against smaller, more agile men. He reminds me a lot of Asanoyama that way, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he looked even more like Asanoyama in a year or two.


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