As a reminder, here was the 4-0 quarterfinal bracket going into Day 9:
- Ms1e Hakuyozan vs. Ms11e Kitaharima
- Ms21e Narutaki vs. Ms25w Kotokenryu
- Ms42w Satorufuji vs. Ms36w Chiyonoo
- Ms57e Daikisho vs. Sd1e Asonoyama
Kitaharima pushed out top-ranked Hakuyozan with relative ease, Narutaki prevailed over Kotokenryu, Satorufuji had an impressive belt win over the veteran Chiyonoo, and Daikisho won the division crossover bout against Asonoyama. So we’re left with four men vying for the title. The semifinals will take place on Day 11 and should look like this:
- Ms11e Kitaharima vs. Ms21e Narutaki
- Ms42w Satorufuji vs. Ms57e Daikisho
37-year-old Kitaharima, who has over two decades of professional sumo experience, is having a late-career resurgence, with 12 consecutive wins going back to his Aki
Makushita Sandanme yusho (apologies for the error in the prior posts). He is looking to secure the automatic promotion that comes with a 7-0 record from the Ms1-Ms15 ranks, which would tie the record for most career sekitori promotions with 9. The latest Isegahama prospect, 19-year-old Ms42w Satorufuji, has a career record of 28-5 in only his 5th basho, with 5-2, 7-0, 6-1, 5-2, and 5-0 records and a Jonidan yusho in May. I don’t have anything especially notable to say about the other two seminalists. Come back on Wednesday to see how this plays out.
The promotion picture is starting to clear up. Two spots are open in Juryo as a consequence of Hakuoho’s absence and Azumaryu’s withdrawal. Several other incumbents are in trouble. The Ms1 duo of Hakuyozan and his West-side counterpart, top Isegahama prospect Takerufuji (they really need to get more inventive with these shikona) are both 4-1 and should be locks to go up. Takerufuji debuted at Kyushu last year and has posted scores of 7-0 yusho, 7-0 yusho, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, 5-2 to date, so his sekitori debut is eagerly anticipated. Kitaharima could claim a third promotion spot by winning out, but is not in the running with anything less than the yusho.
The rest of the wrestlers in the Ms1-Ms5 promotion zone have more of an uphill climb. They need to pile up wins and hope for losses by their fellow contenders and the endangered Juryo men. Ms3e Tochimusashi, who’s struggled after an impressive Juryo debut at Aki 2022 (with a yusho, no less!), is currently in the best shape at 3-2. The only action tomorrow is Ms4w Tsushimanada (3-2), who’s wrapped in so much tape that he looks like a mummy, visiting Juryo to take on J11w Hidenoumi (4-3-2), who is back after 3 days off following a calf injury and needs at least a win or two to stay in the salaried ranks. This battle of the wounded should be followed by a number of other cross-division bouts between promotion hopefuls and those trying to defend their sekitori status in the closing days.