As a reminder, here was the 5-0 semifinal bracket going into Day 11:
- Ms11e Kitaharima vs. Ms21e Narutaki
- Ms42w Satorufuji vs. Ms57e Daikisho
37-year-old Kitaharima put his two decades of professional sumo experience to good use, taking the initial charge then shifting to the side to easily dispose of Narutaki. He is now on a 13-win streak going back to his Aki Sandanme yusho, and 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. His opponent will be the latest Isegahama prospect, 19-year-old Ms42w Satorufuji, who has won 29 bouts and lost only 5 in his career, though one of those losses was to none other than Kitaharima in Sandanme in September.
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, and injured J11e debutant Hitoshi (1-10) now has a demotable record. So there will be space for all three leading promotion candidates: Ms1e Hakuyozan (4-2), top Isegahama prospect Ms1w Takerufuji (5-1), and Kitaharima if he wins.
The remaining four promotion contenders are ranked Ms2w and lower, and all currently sport 3-3 records, so they can do no better than 3rd in the promotion queue (4th if Kitaharima wins). In rank order, they are Oshoumi, Tochimusashi, Kitadaichi, and Tsushimanada. Their fates will be decided in a series of crossover bouts with endangered Juryo incumbents (Chiyosakae, Takakento, Tenshoho, Chiyomaru), starting with Oshoumi vs. J14e Chiyosakae (5-6) tomorrow. Each will have to win his final bout to even qualify for promotion, but a win does not guarantee it, depending on other results.