Congratulations to S1e Hoshoryu (12-3) on a well-earned first yusho; I don’t expect it to be the last, health permitting. With the Nagoya results in the books, let’s take a preliminary look at what they mean for the next banzuke.
Yokozuna and Ozeki
Terunofuji will remain the sole Yokozuna, and hopefully will be back in fighting trim in September.
Absent O1e Takakeisho and shin-Ozeki O1w Kirishima (6-7-2) will both be kadoban at Aki, needing 8+ wins to save their ranks. They will also be switching sides on the banzuke by virtue of Kirishima’s 6 wins. And we’ll have a 3rd Ozeki! Hoshoryu reached the nominal Ozeki promotion target of 33 wins over 3 basho and punctuated his claim with a yusho; the special board meeting to elevate him has already been called, and the promotion should be official on Wednesday. S1w Daieisho and S2w Wakamotoharu both faded at the end, finishing 9-6. Their Ozeki runs officially continue into Aki, but with just 19 wins over two basho, each would need an exceptionally strong performance to be considered.
While they failed in their Ozeki bids, Daieisho and Wakamotoharu did more than enough to hold rank, and Hoshoryu’s elevation means that they will move up to S1e and S1w, respectively. K1e Kotonowaka (11-4) reached the 11 wins needed to force a Sekiwake promotion, and will finally make his debut at the rank after 4 straight basho at Komusubi. Since the start of 2022, Kotonowaka did not record 8+ wins only once—in the COVID-hit basho a year ago, when he was forced to withdraw with a 7-3 record. Oh, and he has started an Ozeki run of his own.
With Kotonowaka vacating his rank via promotion, and K1w Abi (6-9) losing his via demotion, we have 2 Komusubi slots to fill. Conveniently, we have two M1’s with strong records to fill them: M1e Nishikigi (10-5), who will make a late-career san’yaku debut, and M1w Tobizaru (9-6), who last held the rank in March. Just missing out is the runner-up, M9w Hokutofuji (12-3), who should be the top-ranked maegashira at Aki. I’ll take a look how the rest of the rank-and-file is likely to shake out in a separate post.
Dropping to Juryo will be absent M12w Wakatakakage and M16w Bushozan (3-12). Their places in the top division will be taken by J1e Kagayaki (9-6) and the Juryo yusho winner, J1w Atamifuji (11-4). The final Makuuchi slot was decided in a straight-up exchange bout between M14e Daishoho (6-9) and J2e Roga (8-7); the incumbent won and earned a stay.
We’ll have a bumper crop of new (or returning) sekitori with 5, the most since January of 2020. Going into senshuraku, we had 4 clear open slots in Juryo: absent J6e Fujiseiun, J14e Yuma (6-9), J14w Chiyonoumi (4-11), and J11w Tsushimanada (3-12). Ms4w Takahashi (5-2) won his exchange bout against J12w Hidenoumi (5-10), opening up a 5th. These spots will go to Makushita yusho winner Ms1e Tokihayate (7-0), Ms3e Onosato (4-3), Ms3w Mukainakano (4-3), Takahashi, and Ms5e Ishizaki (5-2). That’s a pretty exciting crop of new sekitori! Their promotions, along with that of the new Ozeki, should be official on Wednesday; for the rest of the banzuke, we have to wait until August 28, but never fear—the Crystal Ball will weigh in long before then!