The Makushita yusho race has the potential to be very interesting. Here’s where we left things last time: three rikishi led the yusho race at 5-0: Ms21e Asashiyu, Ms27w Asahakuryu, and Ms47w Chiyoarashi.
Normally, the two highest-ranked 5-0 rikishi would be matched up, and Chiyoarashi would fight the highest-ranked undefeated rikishi in Sandanme. But as the “Asa” prefix suggests, both Asashiyu and Asahakuryu hail from Takasago beya, which means that they can’t face each other. The schedulers matched Asashiyu with Chiyoarashi instead. This still left them looking for someone to fight Asahakuryu, who is ranked too high to get a Sandanme opponent, and they opted for the best available 4-1 candidate, Ms11w Oshoumi. Oshoumi rose to the occasion with a beautiful utchari to win a closely contested bout, while Chiyoarashi pulled off the upset with a thrust down of Asashiyu.
This left only Chiyoarashi undefeated at 6-0, which means that he’ll face a 5-1 opponent on Day 13 (I’m guessing Oshoumi). A win by the journeyman Chiyoarashi would hand him the Makushita yusho to go with the one he won in Sandanme all the way back in 2014. A win by Oshoumi would make things much more interesting, as it would take both men to 6-1. We currently have 5 other riksihi at 5-1 (including the two recent co-leaders), and we’ll get 4 more tomorrow after the bouts between the current 4-1’s. So if Oshoumi can win to go 6-1 and force Chiyoarashi down to the same record, we’ll have somewhere between 5 and 7 wrestlers tied at 6-1 and headed for a big Day 15 playoff the likes of which we have not seen since Hatsu 2021. Go Oshoumi!
After 6 rounds of bouts, 5 wrestlers in the Ms1-Ms5 promotion zone are still mathematically in contention for a Juryo spot. Three already have winning records and are in strong shape for promotion: Ms1w Yuma (4-2), Ms2e Hidenoumi (4-2), and Ms3w Hitoshi (5-1). Ms2w Tsushimanada (3-3) fights in Juryo tomorrow against J12w Takahashi (6-5); he must win to stay alive but won’t finish better than 4th in the promotion queue. Ms5w Kiryuko (3-3) must win his final bout and hope for a meltdown in Juryo. Only one spot there is currently open due to Wakatakakage’s absence. Several others still need more wins than losses to ensure a stay: the hilariously favored J12e Shimanoumi (3-8), injury-riddled J13e Kiho (4-7), J10w Hakuyozan (3-8), and J6w Azumaryu (1-10), who is looking ever closer to retirement.
Look for the next update after Day 13 action.