Just one day of sumo left to go! Let’s take a final look at where the various storylines stand.
Young M15e Atamifuji (11-3) prevailed over henka-ing Abi, and is once again the sole leader after O1w Takakeisho (10-4) was bested by Hoshoryu. This dropped Takakeisho into a 4-way tie for second with S1e Daieisho, M7e Takayasu, and M11w Hokuseiho, who all won today. A win by Atamifuji over former Ozeki Asanoyama would clinch a surprise first top-division yusho for him to go with the one he won in Juryo last basho (and a couple from the lower divisions). Otherwise, we’re guaranteed at least a two-man playoff, as Takakeisho and Daieisho are matched up head-to-head. Takayasu and Hokuseiho could also join it with victories over Kirishima and Hoshoryu, respectively.
Takakeisho and O1e Kirishima (8-6) have cleared kadoban, while shin-Ozeki Hoshoryu (7-7) must beat the giant Hokuseiho to avoid being kadoban in November.
All three Sekiwake will stay at the same ranks after S2w Kotonowaka (8-6) clinched his winning record today, joining already kachi-koshi S1e Daieisho (10-4) and S1w Wakamotoharu (9-5). K1e Nishikigi (5-9) will be back in the maegashira ranks, as will K1w Tobizaru (6-8). So both Komusubi slots are open. Top maegashira M1e Hokutofuji (8-6) will claim one of them. The contenders for the other are M2e Abi (8-6), M2w Asanoyama (8-6), and M7e Takayasu (10-4), in that order. Abi gets it with a win, Asanoyama with a win and an Abi loss, and Takayasu must win, hope for the other two to lose, and then wait to see if that’s enough to jump him over Abi.
We have four rock-solid demotions: absent M9w Hakuoho, lowest-ranked M17e Daishoho (3-11), M15w Chiyoshoma (2-12), and M16e Kagayaki (4-10). M14e Aoiyama (5-9) won today; he’ll be safe with a win tomorrow, and could escape demotion even with a loss depending on other results. The other men in danger both lost, and as a consequence, M13w Nishikifuji (4-10) and M14w Kotoshoho (5-9) must win tomorrow and rely on banzuke luck.
There’s quite a logjam in Juryo for any open slots, with up to a dozen rikishi still in contention. The yusho co-leader, J7w Ichiyamamoto (12-2), should be a lock for promotion, along with J3e Tomokaze (10-4), who will finally be back in the top division after a four-year comeback. J5e Churanoumi (10-4) has probably done enough to earn a top-division debut, but one more win wouldn’t hurt. J1e Roga (7-7) would clinch a long-awaited promotion with a win, but a loss would eliminate him from contention. J2e Kitanowaka (8-6) and J4w Tohakuryu (9-5) should earn promotion by winning, and may have done enough regardless. Several others must win and hope for losses by the other contenders and by the endangered Makuuchi incumbents. There’s a decent chance that we might see 7 exchanges, which would tie the record for a non-scandal basho.
Oh, and the Juryo yusho also comes down to the final day. Ichiyamamoto is in a tie with uber-prospect J14e Onosato (12-2), so if one wins and the other loses tomorrow, that would decide the title in regulation; otherwise, it’s on to a playoff rematch of their regulation bout on Day 10, in which I’m sure Onosato would be eager to avenge one of his only two losses. Combine this possibility with the top-division intrigue and the big 7-way playoff in Makushita, and we’re set for an exciting finish to the Aki basho!