Promotion/Demotion and Yusho discussion Haru 2019

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Day 8 (results, text-only results)

8-0 Ye Hakuho

7-1 Yw Kakuryu, O1e Takayasu, O1w Goeido, M4w Ichinojo, M7e Aoiyama

6-2 Se Takakeisho, M8w Kotoshogiku, M11e Ryuden, M15w Kotoeko

     8-0  Hakuho        Y    Kakuryu       7-1
     7-1  Takayasu      O1   Goeido        7-1
     5-3  Tochinoshin   O2
     6-2  Takakeisho    S

Full attendance and lots of strong mid-basho results in the high ranks - we haven't had much of that in recent times. And while it's yokozuna Hakuho frontrunning the whole thing, the top performer thus far has arguably been...Goeido? He's looked quite dominant in most of his matches, vaguely reminiscent of that one basho he once had. And in the current "anyone can win a title" mini-era, who knows? Maybe he'll make it six straight different champions. Of course, probably more than anyone else in sanyaku Goeido and his sumo can also fall apart at a moment's notice.

Takakeisho's ozeki run remains in full flow, and although he's still got plenty of work to do it doesn't look half bad for him at this stage. 11 wins will surely do it, and I wouldn't be too surprised if 10 are deemed sufficient - the big knock on his two strong scores in Kyushu and Hatsu was that half the top rankers were bad or not there at all. If he can still get double-digits with all of them on deck, I'd say it would go a long way towards demonstrating his viability as ozeki.

As discussed before the basho there is/was even more potential movement around the ozeki rank with defending champion Tamawashi also on sort of a promotion run and incumbent Tochinoshin kadoban. Tamawashi is pretty much toast at 4-4, however (and I've already "demoted" him to the rank-and-filer section), while the big Georgian had looked rather shaky. We'll see if 5-3 against the soft part of his schedule ends up as a strong enough foundation for a kachikoshi.

For about four days it looked like the secret ingredient to Mitakeumi's future superstardom will be "just don't train at all", but reality has caught up to him now and a four-day losing streak has him closer to the maegashira ranks than to a renewed promotion push. Sanyaku debutant Hokutofuji has possibly looked better but has even less to show for it at 2-6. And as usual when the yokozuna and ozeki are doing well, it's been carnage among the maegashira-joi. The unexpected highlight thus far has been Daieisho with an even 4-4 record and two ozeki scalps. He's not the main contender for sanyaku promotion, though - that's Ichinojo, who got to start off against seven straight maegashira opponents and is currently in the midst of facing all three ozeki (Goeido and Tochinoshin due to same-stable considerations, and Takayasu...well, because they can).

Daieisho is arguably still a less than 50% shot to finish kachikoshi from 4-4, so if two sanyaku spots need to be filled - or even three with a Takakeisho ascent - we could have some rather surprising contenders for that. We'll know more by about Day 12, I reckon.

                        S    Tamawashi     4-4
     3-5  Mitakeumi     K    Hokutofuji    2-6

     1-7  Kaisei        M1   Endo          2-6
     4-4  Daieisho      M2   Myogiryu      3-5
     1-7  Nishikigi     M3   Shodai        0-8  (x)
(x)  1-7  Tochiozan     M4   Ichinojo      7-1
     5-3  Chiyotairyu   M5   Onosho        4-4
     4-4  Okinoumi      M6
     7-1  Aoiyama       M7   Takarafuji    4-4
     5-3  Asanoyama     M8   Kotoshogiku   6-2
     6-2  Ryuden        M11

It's been a mixed bag for this basho's five promotees from juryo so far. Ishiura has reasserted himself in the form that has made him a maegashira mostly-regular for the last two years and appears likely to remain in the top division for May, and rookie Tomokaze, while definitely having his hands full at this level, seems a decent bet for survival as well, at least for this basho. (The jury's still out on his long-term chances, although I feel he's gonna establish himself in the mid ranks.)

Things haven't been so rosy for his fellow debutants Daishoho and Terutsuyoshi, both of whom have looked rather outclassed in the majority of their matches. 35-year-old Toyonoshima, back up in makuuchi after nearly three years, also isn't having the easiest time, with his pair of wins more due to veteran moxie than convincing sumo. Of course, it's astonishing that he's here again at all, and even if this turns out to be a one-shot deal and he "only" becomes a steady juryo wrestler for another couple of years, that'll still be a great achievement given what he's gone through.

Joining Toyonoshima in massive danger is Yutakayama, who just doesn't appear to be able to get back to form since his injury-marred Aki basho six months ago. I never considered him to be all that much, but he certainly ought to be good enough to not be troubled by juryo demotion concerns.

Defending juryo champion Shimanoumi has picked up where he left off in January, and while he hasn't been quite as untouchable that's arguably just because he's facing harder opponents this time around. I'm not sure if he would be the most surprising back-to-back juryo winner ever if he goes through with it, but he'd surely be up there in that ranking. Chiyomaru and Enho are the other primary promotion contenders at this point in the tournament, the rest of the juryo upper half will probably fade away from the race before too long.

                        M6   Abi           2-6  (1)
(1)  3-5  Sadanoumi     M9   Ikioi         1-7  (3)
(o)  4-4  Shohozan      M10  Yago          2-6  (3)
                        M11  Meisei        4-4  (1)
(x) kyujo Chiyonokuni   M12  Yoshikaze     5-3  (1)
(2)  4-4  Tomokaze      M13  Kagayaki      5-3  (1)
(4)  2-6  Terutsuyoshi  M14  Toyonoshima   2-6  (5)
(2)  5-3  Ishiura       M15  Kotoeko       6-2  (1)
(4)  3-5  Daishoho      M16  Yutakayama    3-5  (5)
(3)  5-3  Chiyoshoma    M17  ---

(1)  7-1  Shimanoumi    J1   Chiyomaru     5-3  (3)
(~)  1-7  Kotoyuki      J2   Enho          5-3  (4)
(6)  3-5  Hakuyozan     J3   Daiamami      3-5  (6)
(6)  4-4  Takagenji     J4   Tokushoryu    4-4  (6)
(6)  4-4  Wakatakakage  J5
(7)  4-4  Kyokushuho    J6   Tsurugisho    3-5  (~)
(7)  4-4  Azumaryu      J7   Sokokurai     5-3  (6)
(~)  4-4  Gagamaru      J8   Chiyonoumi    5-3  (7)
(7)  5-3  Kyokutaisei   J9   Akiseyama     4-4  (~)
(~)  5-3  Hidenoumi     J10
                        J12  Arawashi      6-2  (~)

With the upper-ranked juryo rikishi posting rather middling records it's no surprise that the lower half are sporting relatively decent scores. Only three rikishi are in severe danger of receiving a ticket to makushita, those being returnees Takanofuji and Daiseido along with debuting Wakamotoharu. The other newcomer Kiribayama still needs a few more wins as well but has looked quite comfortable in competition thus far and should be odds-on to make it.

An outside candidate for demotion may be Tobizaru who has arguably been worse than his 3-6 record indicates. That being said, he's been rather streaky in past tournaments so the first week may not have much bearing on how he does from here out. Super-veteran Aminishiki appeared to be on course to a probable intai early on, but has turned things around significantly with four straight wins from 0-4. However, those wins haven't come easy at all and I'm not sure how much longer he'll be able to hold things together.

Over in makushita it may be time for some late vindication as 27-year-old Irodori (formerly Matsumoto) is knocking on the door to the paid ranks at last. Kachikoshi after defeating Daiseido in juryo today, all that's left for him to do is wait for a slot to open up to make it official. A nice belated present for his birthday which was on shonichi.

Things have gone much worse for top prospect Ryuko, 0-4 after he barely missed out on the promotion last time, as well as Kotokuzan whose first appearance in the promotion zone has been equally disastrous. Outside of that it's the usual free-for-all with plenty of rikishi still in the running, albeit with varying likelihoods of success. This basho's outside contender is Ichiyamamoto, barely inside the top 15 ranks at Ms13, and on a rebuild from his own makushita-joi disaster, a 1-6 record half a year ago.

(1)  1-7  Kotoyuki      J2
                        J5   Daishomaru    2-6  (1)
                        J6   Tsurugisho    3-5  (1)
(1)  4-4  Gagamaru      J8
                        J9   Akiseyama     4-4  (1)
(1)  5-3  Hidenoumi     J10  Wakamotoharu  2-6  (4)
(3)  3-5  Tobizaru      J11  Aminishiki    4-4  (2)
(2)  5-3  Mitoryu       J12  Arawashi      6-2  (1)
(2)  5-3  Takanosho     J13  Takanofuji    3-5  (4)
(5)  3-5  Daiseido      J14  Kiribayama    5-3  (3)

     4-1  Irodori       Ms1  Ryuko         0-4  (x)
     2-2  Fujiazuma     Ms2  Kotokuzan     0-4  (x)
     2-2  Jokoryu       Ms3  Seiro         3-1
     1-3  Kaisho        Ms4  Kotodaigo     2-2
     4-0  Churanoumi    Ms5  Kotokamatani  3-1
     4-0  Ichiyamamoto

Explanation of symbols used:

numbers = wins needed until favourable outcome (getting promoted / not getting demoted)
o = favourable outcome achieved
x = favourable outcome definitely missed
~ = favourable outcome missed "by the numbers", but still achievable through banzuke luck

Edited by Asashosakari
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Juryo yusho race:

7-1 J1e Shimanoumi

6-2 J12w Arawashi

5-3 J1w Chiyomaru, J2w Enho, J7w Sokokurai, J8w Chiyonoumi, J9e Kyokutaisei, J10e Hidenoumi, J12e Mitoryu, J13e Takanosho, J14w Kiribayama

This is pretty much down to whether or not Shimanoumi falters during week two. He'll need to lose quite a few matches though as it appears unlikely that anybody else will finish better than 11-4 from here.

Lower division yusho races (Day 7/8 results):

4-0 Ms5e Churanoumi (Kise)
4-0 Ms13e
Ichiyamamoto (Nishonoseki)
4-0 Ms26e
Chiyootori (Kokonoe)
4-0 Ms30w
Kitaharima (Yamahibiki)
4-0 Ms38w
Tsurubayashi (Kise)
4-0 Ms51e
Naya (Otake)
4-0 Ms58w
Kotoseigo (Sadogatake)

4-0 Sd2e Honda (Nishikido)
4-0 Sd14e
Kamito (Tatsunami)
4-0 Sd22e
Kotohayato (Sadogatake)
4-0 Sd30w
Fujita (Shikoroyama)
4-0 Sd39w
Karatsuumi (Tamanoi)
4-0 Sd44e
Wagurayama (Musashigawa)
4-0 Sd54e
Taichiyama (Chiganoura)
4-0 Sd61e
Fukunofuji (Isegahama)
4-0 Sd72e
Sazanami (Isenoumi)
4-0 Sd84e
Yuma (Onomatsu)
4-0 Sd88w
Asanojo (Takasago)
4-0 Sd94e
Kotomiyakura (Sadogatake)

4-0 Jd8e Tsugaruumi (Tamanoi)
4-0 Jd15w
Roga (Futagoyama)
4-0 Jd25w
Rendaiyama (Kise)
4-0 Jd30e
Wakayamanaka (Nishonoseki)
4-0 Jd43w
Umizaru (Miyagino)
4-0 Jd48w
Terunofuji (Isegahama)
4-0 Jd54w
Mimurodake (Isegahama)
4-0 Jd61w
Daiyusho (Oitekaze)
4-0 Jd74w
Narumi (Onomatsu)
4-0 Jd82e
Shimomura (Sakaigawa)
4-0 Jd84w
Sadatsuyoshi (Sakaigawa)
4-0 Jd98e
Zendaisho (Takadagawa)
4-0 Jd104e
Adachi (Tagonoura)

4-0 Jk9w Hanashi (Musashigawa)
4-0 Jk19w
Terasawa (Takasago)

I'll save my comments for the Day 9 update.

Edited by Asashosakari
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And also a day late, the ex-sekitori results through Day 8.

Only 4 former sekitori in the makushita top 5 promotion zone is the lowest amount since Aki 2016.

The overall first-week results are pretty average at a combined record of 70-62, but it was nice to see four straight KKs against only one 0-4 start.

Additional notes in the opening post in the basho banzuke thread.


Record   Rank   Shikona Heya Age Out
2-2 Ms2e Fujiazuma Tamanoi 31 12
2-2 Ms3e Jokoryu Kise 30 1
3-1 Ms3w Seiro Shikoroyama 30 3
4-0 Ms5e Churanoumi Kise 25 4
1-3 Ms6w Tokushinho Kise 34 20
2-2 Ms9e Kizenryu Kise 33 4
1-3 Ms9w Dewahayate Dewanoumi 30 16
2-2 Ms10e Sagatsukasa Irumagawa 37 30
2-2 Ms11e Akua Tatsunami 28 3
3-1 Ms11w Toyohibiki Sakaigawa 34 7
1-3 Ms12w Sakigake Shibatayama 32 25
1-3 Ms13w Asabenkei Takasago 30 5
1-3 Ms18e Tochihiryu Kasugano 31 7
3-1 Ms20e Gokushindo Nishikido 22 2
2-2 Ms23w Asahisho Tomozuna 29 11
2-2 Ms25w Kagamio Kagamiyama 31 17
4-0 Ms26e Chiyootori Kokonoe 26 8
2-2 Ms29e Nionoumi Yamahibiki 32 34
4-0 Ms30w Kitaharima Yamahibiki 32 9
2-2 Ms34w Higonojo Kise 34 29
1-3 Ms35w Chiyonoo Kokonoe 27 2
kyujo Ms36w Ura Kise 26 7
1-3 Ms40e Keitenkai Onomatsu 29 39
3-1 Ms41w Takaryu Kise 26 22
3-1 Ms50e Chiyoarashi Kokonoe 27 34
2-2 Ms52w Tenkaiho Onoe 34 17
3-1 Ms57e Masunoyama Chiganoura 28 24
1-3 Sd3e Kaonishiki Azumazeki 40 45
0-4 Sd7w Dairaido Takadagawa 38 75
kyujo Sd17e Homarefuji Isegahama 33 4
2-2 Sd34e Yamaguchi Miyagino 29 7
2-2 Sd35w Yoshiazuma Tamanoi 41 27
1-3 Sd50e Hitenryu Tatsunami 34 45
4-0 Jd48w Terunofuji Isegahama 27 5
3-1 Jd50w Amakaze Oguruma 27 6


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Day 9 (results, text-only results)

9-0 Ye Hakuho

8-1 Yw Kakuryu, O1e Takayasu, M4w Ichinojo, M7e Aoiyama

7-2 O1w Goeido, Se Takakeisho, M8w Kotoshogiku

     9-0  Hakuho        Y    Kakuryu       8-1
     8-1  Takayasu      O1   Goeido        7-2
     6-3  Tochinoshin   O2
     7-2  Takakeisho    S

Rather easy matches for both yokozuna, tough challenges for the ozeki trio. Goeido ended up as the only loser among this fivesome, although he didn't do much wrong - rejuvenated Ichinojo was simply better. Not many other changes in the yusho-arasoi beyond that; low-ranked Ryuden and Kotoeko fell to 6-3 and were clipped off the listing.

Kadoban Tochinoshin's hard-fought victory over still winless Shodai has concluded the easy(ish) part of the basho for him. He'll need to win at least two out of six against the Y/O/S crowd. With everybody bar Tamawashi in the yusho race this isn't gonna be easy. (And Tamawashi tends to be the type of rikishi who fights to the death no matter the circumstances, so that one's not a gimme either.)

Speaking of Tamawashi, losses all around for him and the two komusubi today, putting us at least provisionally on course to perhaps see all four lower sanyaku spots refilled for the May tournament. Ichinojo is KK already, but beyond him only Endo and Nishikigi were successful among the M1-5 crowd, and they've got a long way to kachikoshi. As it stands the second-best candidate for a promotion would be Aoiyama, last seen in sanyaku over four years ago.

                        S    Tamawashi     4-5
     3-6  Mitakeumi     K    Hokutofuji    3-6

(x)  1-8  Kaisei        M1   Endo          3-6
     4-5  Daieisho      M2   Myogiryu      3-6
     2-7  Nishikigi     M3
                        M4   Ichinojo      8-1
     5-4  Chiyotairyu   M5   Onosho        4-5
     5-4  Okinoumi      M6
     8-1  Aoiyama       M7   Takarafuji    4-5
     6-3  Asanoyama     M8   Kotoshogiku   7-2
     6-3  Ryuden        M11

We're hitting the meaty part of the basho now, and the high-ranker matchups are being started off with a pair of yokozuna-sekiwake meetings in Kakuryu-Takakeisho and Hakuho-Tamawashi, along with the clash of ozeki duo Goeido and Tochinoshin. Also relevant for the yusho race: Takayasu against Ichinojo in a pursuer head-to-head, while Aoiyama meets Shohozan.

One demotion-threatened maegashira was set to have a good Day 9 as Daishoho and Toyonoshima battled things out - with the better end for the Mongolian debutant after a nice recovery at the edge. The other pair of most endangered rikishi, Terutsuyoshi and Yutakayama, failed to be successful against Yago and visiting Shimanoumi respectively, so with 6 days to go we have three serious candidates for a trip to juryo, all requiring more wins than losses on the home stretch. Daishoho "only" needs to go 3 and 3 now, a situation he's joined in by Ikioi and bottom-ranked Chiyoshoma who were both defeated today.

Shimanoumi for his part has clinched the very early kachikoshi at the top of juryo, so the 29-year-old late bloomer is certain to make his top division debut in May. Congrats! It's been quite a winding road for this rikishi who looked promising early on but found himself derailed badly right as he was first knocking on the door to juryo six years ago.

Elsewhere, Chiyomaru and Enho both helped their own promotion causes with victories over Wakatakakage and Tokushoryu. We'll see if anybody else can get into contention (it's looking rather bleak, as mentioned yesterday), or if all available banzuke luck will go the makuuchi incumbents' way this basho.

                        M6   Abi           2-7  (1)
(1)  3-6  Sadanoumi     M9   Ikioi         1-8  (3)
                        M10  Yago          3-6  (2)
                        M11  Meisei        5-4  (o)
(x) kyujo Chiyonokuni   M12  Yoshikaze     6-3  (o)
(1)  5-4  Tomokaze      M13  Kagayaki      5-4  (1)
(4)  2-7  Terutsuyoshi  M14  Toyonoshima   2-7  (5)
(1)  6-3  Ishiura       M15  Kotoeko       6-3  (1)
(3)  4-5  Daishoho      M16  Yutakayama    3-6  (5)
(3)  5-4  Chiyoshoma    M17  ---

(o)  8-1  Shimanoumi    J1   Chiyomaru     6-3  (2)
(~)  2-7  Kotoyuki      J2   Enho          6-3  (3)
(6)  3-6  Hakuyozan     J3   Daiamami      3-6  (6)
(5)  5-4  Takagenji     J4   Tokushoryu    4-5  (6)
(6)  4-5  Wakatakakage  J5
(6)  5-4  Kyokushuho    J6   Tsurugisho    3-6  (x)
(~)  4-5  Azumaryu      J7   Sokokurai     6-3  (5)
(~)  5-4  Gagamaru      J8   Chiyonoumi    6-3  (6)
(6)  6-3  Kyokutaisei   J9   Akiseyama     4-5  (x)
(~)  6-3  Hidenoumi     J10
                        J12  Arawashi      7-2  (~)

It wasn't a particularly productive day for those juryo rikishi trying not to get sent back to makushita. If you were one of the 8 rikishi in need of at least two more wins and your name wasn't Aminishiki or Wakamotoharu, you still need those same wins now. Plenty of guys who only required one more shiroboshi for safety did win today, however, so the list of demotion candidates will be much shorter for tomorrow.

The race for promotion from makushita looks to be a high-quality affair this month, with no less than 5 strong contenders following the Day 9 action. Jokoryu found himself up in juryo for the second time in the basho and did better than in his Day 5 loss to Arawashi, beating Takanofuji this time around. Fujiazuma defeated Kotodaigo and is close to a return to sekitoridom after two years, while Seiro beat Kotokamatani in another promotion zone matchup and has already secured his kachikoshi. Rounding things out among the main contenders is Churanoumi who also remains in the makushita yusho race, unlike his vanquished opponent Ichiyamamoto.

(o)  2-7  Kotoyuki      J2
                        J5   Daishomaru    2-7  (1)
                        J6   Tsurugisho    3-6  (1)
(o)  5-4  Gagamaru      J8
                        J9   Akiseyama     4-5  (1)
(o)  6-3  Hidenoumi     J10  Wakamotoharu  3-6  (3)
(3)  3-6  Tobizaru      J11  Aminishiki    5-4  (1)
(2)  5-4  Mitoryu       J12  Arawashi      7-2  (o)
(2)  5-4  Takanosho     J13  Takanofuji    3-6  (4)
(5)  3-6  Daiseido      J14  Kiribayama    5-4  (3)

     4-1  Irodori       Ms1
     3-2  Fujiazuma     Ms2
     3-2  Jokoryu       Ms3  Seiro         4-1
     2-3  Kaisho        Ms4  Kotodaigo     2-3
     5-0  Churanoumi    Ms5  Kotokamatani  3-2
(x)  4-1  Ichiyamamoto

Juryo yusho race:

8-1 J1e Shimanoumi

7-2 J12w Arawashi

6-3 J1w Chiyomaru, J2w Enho, J7w Sokokurai, J8w Chiyonoumi, J9e Kyokutaisei, J10e Hidenoumi

Much like in makuuchi, the only significant change was that a few low-ranked rikishi fell out of contention, namely Mitoryu, Takanosho and Kiribayama who dropped to 5-4. Not even a maegashira opponent was able to stop Shimanoumi and unless he takes his foot off the gas now with his promotion secured, it's looking rather likely that he'll stay in the driver's seat here at least to the final weekend, if not all the way.

Edited by Asashosakari
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Day 10 (results, text-only results)

10-0 Ye Hakuho

9-1 M4w Ichinojo, M7e Aoiyama

8-2 Yw Kakuryu, O1e Takayasu, O1w Goeido, Se Takakeisho, M8w Kotoshogiku

    10-0  Hakuho        Y    Kakuryu       8-2
     8-2  Takayasu      O1   Goeido        8-2
     6-4  Tochinoshin   O2
     8-2  Takakeisho    S

Hakuho continues to be unbeaten, although today's victory over Tamawashi was his closest call yet - we've seen rikishi win by sidestepping a bullrushing-from-behind opponent before, but I'm not sure anyone's ever made it look quite so intentional as the yokozuna did here. Kudos for that. Doesn't change the fact that it was far from convincing sumo though, and not exactly for the first time this basho.

Meanwhile, the pursuer spots have become a high ranker-free zone after yokozuna Kakuryu fell victim to some trademark Takakeisho sumo and Takayasu was simply overpowered by Ichinojo. Alongside Takakeisho Day 10 also saw KKs being secured by Goeido, defeating fellow ozeki Tochinoshin, and by Kotoshogiku who had an easy time against Onosho. It's the ex-ozeki's earliest kachikoshi since Hatsu 2016, his yusho-winning tournament. Aoiyama looked impressive against Shohozan as well and forms a big-man duo with Ichinojo at 9-1 for now.

The sole winner among the three lower sanyaku in trouble was Mitakeumi today with victory over Endo, whose timing just seems off in nearly every bout this basho. Hokutofuji has one foot back down in the maegashira ranks now after surprise package Daieisho levelled his score at the komusubi's expense.

                        S    Tamawashi     4-6
     4-6  Mitakeumi     K    Hokutofuji    3-7

                        M1   Endo          3-7
     5-5  Daieisho      M2   Myogiryu      4-6
(x)  2-8  Nishikigi     M3
                        M4   Ichinojo      9-1
     6-4  Chiyotairyu   M5   Onosho        4-6
     5-5  Okinoumi      M6
     9-1  Aoiyama       M7   Takarafuji    4-6  (x)
     7-3  Asanoyama     M8   Kotoshogiku   8-2
     7-3  Ryuden        M11

Big matchup for the pursuing duo tomorrow as Aoiyama's time slumming it against middle-rankers comes to an end; only one of he and Ichinojo will be moving up to 10-1. It could be good for the shared lead if ozeki promotion hopeful Takakeisho manages to take his second yokozuna scalp against Hakuho. Takayasu will do battle with kadoban Tochinoshin, while Goeido and Kotoshogiku will have comparatively easier pairings with Chiyotairyu and Ishiura, respectively.

Calf-bandaged Abi finally won again after four days and should be safe for the next tournament now with this shiroboshi over Sadanoumi; it's probably all damage control from here on for the obviously ailing pusher-thruster. Ikioi carries matching taping, albeit on the other lower leg, and like Abi he appears seriously impaired when it comes to their ability to project power into the ground - both have struggled massively trying to resist pushing attacks this basho. Although one of Ikioi's better efforts, today's bout against Yoshikaze was no different and he falls to 1-9. Even with lots of banzuke space to spare it's getting rather dangerous for the veteran now and his time in makuuchi may be coming to at least a temporary end after 6 and a half years.

However, it wasn't a great day altogether for the demotion zone maegashira. The baker's dozen of at-risk rikishi only managed to collect 4 wins, and all of these came in head-to-head action among them. Joining Abi on the winner's slate were Chiyoshoma (against Tomokaze), Kagayaki (over Terutsuyoshi, now MK) and Toyonoshima (versus Yago).

Chiyomaru, already close to a makuuchi return two months ago, is in an increasingly good position to clinch the promotion this time around. He already got a renewed taste of the top division today and made the most of it with a convincing victory over Daishoho. Enho wasn't able to join him as he lost a rather wacky bout to Daishomaru, of all people. Sokokurai was victorious for the fourth straight day, this time against Mitoryu, and is officially our 4th-best promotion candidate at the moment. Everybody else will need to win all five remaining matches to present a respectable final record, or already needs to rely on banzuke luck.

                        M6   Abi           3-7  (o)
(1)  3-7  Sadanoumi     M9   Ikioi         1-9  (3)
                        M10  Yago          3-7  (2)
(x) kyujo Chiyonokuni   M12
(1)  5-5  Tomokaze      M13  Kagayaki      6-4  (o)
(4)  2-8  Terutsuyoshi  M14  Toyonoshima   3-7  (4)
(1)  6-4  Ishiura       M15  Kotoeko       6-4  (1)
(3)  4-6  Daishoho      M16  Yutakayama    3-7  (5)
(2)  6-4  Chiyoshoma    M17  ---

(o)  9-1  Shimanoumi    J1   Chiyomaru     7-3  (1)
(~)  3-7  Kotoyuki      J2   Enho          6-4  (3)
(x)  3-7  Hakuyozan     J3   Daiamami      3-7  (~)
(5)  5-5  Takagenji     J4   Tokushoryu    5-5  (5)
(5)  5-5  Wakatakakage  J5
(5)  6-4  Kyokushuho    J6
(x)  4-6  Azumaryu      J7   Sokokurai     7-3  (4)
(~)  6-4  Gagamaru      J8   Chiyonoumi    6-4  (~)
(~)  6-4  Kyokutaisei   J9
(x)  6-4  Hidenoumi     J10
                        J12  Arawashi      8-2  (~)

Daiseido found himself the target of a Kyokushuho henka and quickly lost for the fifth day in a row, and is now in major trouble and likely to become our first demotee. Fellow juryo returnee Takanofuji has given himself some breathing room with a hard-fought defeat of Chiyonoumi, but still needs to win the majority of his five remaining matchups. The trio of Wakamotoharu, Tobizaru and Kiribayama, who all entered Day 10 requiring three more wins, were successful all around and have a much improved outlook for the closing days of the basho after today.

Takanosho's shiroboshi came at the expense of visiting Fujiazuma, whose first of two KK opportunities has thus gone begging. He'll likely have to deal with another juryo opponent in the other one.

                        J5   Daishomaru    3-7  (o)
                        J6   Tsurugisho    3-7  (1)
                        J9   Akiseyama     4-6  (1)
                        J10  Wakamotoharu  4-6  (2)
(2)  4-6  Tobizaru      J11  Aminishiki    5-5  (1)
(2)  5-5  Mitoryu       J12
(1)  6-4  Takanosho     J13  Takanofuji    4-6  (3)
(5)  3-7  Daiseido      J14  Kiribayama    6-4  (2)

     4-1  Irodori       Ms1
     3-3  Fujiazuma     Ms2
     3-2  Jokoryu       Ms3  Seiro         4-1
     2-3  Kaisho        Ms4  Kotodaigo     2-3
     5-0  Churanoumi    Ms5  Kotokamatani  3-2

Due to Hakuyozan's withdrawal from the basho there's now no need for makushita fill-ins for the juryo schedule, so barring another exit we're unlikely to see further crossover matches before Day 13, and possibly not even until the weekend.

Edited by Asashosakari
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Juryo yusho race:

9-1 J1e Shimanoumi

8-2 J12w Arawashi

7-3 J1w Chiyomaru, J7w Sokokurai

The frontrunner and his sole direct pursuer both marched on and looked good doing so, Shimanoumi against Takagenji and Arawashi against Mongolian compatriot Azumaryu. The three-defeats group suffered heavy losses, however, with only 2 of the erstwhile 6 members successful today.

Only one matchup among the main contenders has been realized so far, namely the meeting of the two J1's (already back on Day 3). We're getting another one tomorrow with Chiyomaru-Sokokurai, while Shimanoumi goes against Kyokushuho (J6e 6-4) and Arawashi faces Aminishiki (J11w 5-5).

Lower division yusho races (Day 9 results):

5-0 Ms5e Churanoumi (Kise)
4-1 Ms13e Ichiyamamoto (Nishonoseki)
4-1 Ms26e Chiyootori (Kokonoe)
5-0 Ms30w Kitaharima (Yamahibiki)
4-1 Ms38w Tsurubayashi (Kise)
5-0 Ms51e Naya (Otake)
5-0 Ms58w Kotoseigo (Sadogatake)

4-1 Sd2e Honda (Nishikido)
4-1 Sd14e Kamito (Tatsunami)
5-0 Sd22e Kotohayato (Sadogatake)
4-1 Sd30w Fujita (Shikoroyama)
5-0 Sd39w Karatsuumi (Tamanoi)
4-1 Sd44e Wagurayama (Musashigawa)
5-0 Sd54e Taichiyama (Chiganoura)
4-1 Sd61e Fukunofuji (Isegahama)
5-0 Sd72e Sazanami (Isenoumi)
4-1 Sd84e Yuma (Onomatsu)
5-0 Sd88w Asanojo (Takasago)
5-0 Sd94e Kotomiyakura (Sadogatake)

4-1 Jd8e Tsugaruumi (Tamanoi)
5-0 Jd15w Roga (Futagoyama)
4-1 Jd25w Rendaiyama (Kise)
5-0 Jd30e Wakayamanaka (Nishonoseki)
4-1 Jd43w Umizaru (Miyagino)
5-0 Jd48w Terunofuji (Isegahama)
4-1 Jd54w Mimurodake (Isegahama)
4-1 Jd61w Daiyusho (Oitekaze)
5-0 Jd74w Narumi (Onomatsu)
5-0 Jd82e Shimomura (Sakaigawa)
5-0 Jd84w Sadatsuyoshi (Sakaigawa)
4-1 Jd98e Zendaisho (Takadagawa)
4-1 Jd104e Adachi (Tagonoura)

4-1 Jk9w Hanashi (Musashigawa)
5-0 Jk19w Terasawa (Takasago)

Frequently at least one 4-0 matchup is held back to Day 10, but this basho the entire slate was scheduled for Day 9, and the results have left us with pretty divisional breakdowns. Makushita has its customary 4 unbeaten 5-0 rikishi thanks to Kotoseigo defeating Honda, with the sandanme division still maintaining 6 undefeated scores (from 12) via Kotomiyakura's victory over Tsugaruumi, which has served to put jonidan at 6 zensho records as well (from 13).

Kitaharima's having a surprisingly strong run, considering he has had only two KK in his last year and a half of action (and those were mere 4-3's). But, given that recent history he's almost certainly a big underdog against Churanoumi who's been ranked at Ms15 and above for the last two years now. I hesitate to call the other makushita match in any way, as youngster Naya has had his share of disappointing losses in the last few tournaments at this same level. That being said, Kotoseigo's 5-0 has to be rated as a massive surprise, considering he had previously bounced off the wall in high sandanme repeatedly (and usually bounced into some sort of major injury, to boot). I reckon we'll see Churanoumi-Naya as the yusho decider, but it's makushita where surprises are frequent.

The sandanme race arguably has no discernible frontrunner at all. Karatsuumi is the one with the greatest career success and in fact won a sandanme yusho just 10 months ago (which was his second), but his days as a mid-makushita regular are long gone and he's really not significantly ahead of the field. Barring any further worthwhile observations, I'll just say that I'm either rooting for the Sadogatake do-beya playoff, or for a Sazanami teenager yusho.

Round 5 in jonidan saw a slightly distorted schedule due to neighbouring pairs of Isegahama and Sakaigawa rikishi, but only the latter duo managed to come through unscathed. Obviously Terunofuji is the name being watched by most here, but he's hardly looked the part of an ex-ozeki in this basho, and I'm inclined to declare last basho's jonokuchi champion Roga as the #1 contender, who already took a significant scalp with makushita-sandanme elevator guy Rendaiyama yesterday.

The presence of the two Sakaigawa deshi means another schedule adjustment for Day 11, and contrary to convention they're both facing higher-ranked opponents in order to keep this race confined within the division. Terunofuji has arguably avoided the tougher possible opponent because of this, as he's getting rookie Shimomura now rather than mid-sandanme regular Narumi. Either way, if we're seeing some other assemblage than Roga/Terunofuji/Narumi here at 5-0, I'll be shocked.

And finally, it came to exactly nobody's surprise that former collegiate rikishi Terasawa prevailed over lower jonidan dweller Hanashi. He's getting a 4-1 opponent next, veteran ex-persister Jk1w Oatari, and should be in line for a one-loss opponent in the last round as well.

Edited by Asashosakari
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And the ex-sekitori scores through Day 10.

new KK: Seiro, Takaryu, Chiyoarashi, Amakaze

new MK: Tokushinho, Dewahayate (withdrawn), Asabenkei, Tochihiryu, Keitenkai, Kaonishiki

I suspect I overrated Asabenkei's chances of a successful push for a juryo return... Former one-time juryo Keitenkai is makekoshi for the fourth straight basho.

Record   Rank   Shikona Heya Age Out
3-3 Ms2e Fujiazuma Tamanoi 31 12
3-2 Ms3e Jokoryu Kise 30 1
4-1 Ms3w Seiro Shikoroyama 30 3
5-0 Ms5e Churanoumi Kise 25 4
1-4 Ms6w Tokushinho Kise 34 20
3-2 Ms9e Kizenryu Kise 33 4
1-3-1 Ms9w Dewahayate Dewanoumi 30 16
2-3 Ms10e Sagatsukasa Irumagawa 37 30
2-3 Ms11e Akua Tatsunami 28 3
3-2 Ms11w Toyohibiki Sakaigawa 34 7
2-3 Ms12w Sakigake Shibatayama 32 25
1-4 Ms13w Asabenkei Takasago 30 5
1-4 Ms18e Tochihiryu Kasugano 31 7
3-2 Ms20e Gokushindo Nishikido 22 2
3-2 Ms23w Asahisho Tomozuna 29 11
2-3 Ms25w Kagamio Kagamiyama 31 17
4-1 Ms26e Chiyootori Kokonoe 26 8
3-2 Ms29e Nionoumi Yamahibiki 32 34
5-0 Ms30w Kitaharima Yamahibiki 32 9
2-3 Ms34w Higonojo Kise 34 29
2-3 Ms35w Chiyonoo Kokonoe 27 2
kyujo Ms36w Ura Kise 26 7
1-4 Ms40e Keitenkai Onomatsu 29 39
4-1 Ms41w Takaryu Kise 27 22
4-1 Ms50e Chiyoarashi Kokonoe 27 34
3-2 Ms52w Tenkaiho Onoe 34 17
3-2 Ms57e Masunoyama Chiganoura 28 24
1-4 Sd3e Kaonishiki Azumazeki 40 45
1-4 Sd7w Dairaido Takadagawa 38 75
kyujo Sd17e Homarefuji Isegahama 33 4
3-2 Sd34e Yamaguchi Miyagino 29 7
2-3 Sd35w Yoshiazuma Tamanoi 41 27
2-3 Sd50e Hitenryu Tatsunami 34 45
5-0 Jd48w Terunofuji Isegahama 27 5
4-1 Jd50w Amakaze Oguruma 27 6


Edited by Asashosakari
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 Irodori already KK and if Churanoumi can Yusho along with only 2 likely demotions from Juryo some Makushita guys may be in for some bad banzuke luck this basho. 

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Day 11 (results, text-only results)

11-0 Ye Hakuho

10-1 M4w Ichinojo

9-2 Yw Kakuryu, O1e Takayasu, O1w Goeido, M7e Aoiyama, M8w Kotoshogiku

    11-0  Hakuho        Y    Kakuryu       9-2
     9-2  Takayasu      O1   Goeido        9-2
     6-5  Tochinoshin   O2
     8-3  Takakeisho    S

After last basho's decisive victory by the youngster we were back to the more usual look of a Hakuho-Takakeisho bout today: Takakeisho throwing the kitchen sink at the yokozuna, only to eventually be shown how it's done. Ichinojo demonstrated both strong and clever sumo against fellow behemoth Aoiyama and has become the sole one-loss pursuer. As he's unlikely to get to face leading Hakuho in regulation he'll have to hope for an assist by the other top-rankers. Takayasu and Goeido both looked strong in their defeats of Tochinoshin and Chiyotairyu, and remain in as viable yusho candidates themselves, but of course they also can't do it without help from two wins down. Kakuryu stands at 9-2 as well but only after surviving a close finish plus mono-ii against Tamawashi. Kotoshogiku rounds out the group of quasi-contenders after a successful chase of Ishiura across the ring.

Back-to-back losses mean that Tochinoshin's kachikoshi task has become significantly harder again. With head-to-head records of 3-22 against Kakuryu and 1-26 against Hakuho he may already have to place his hopes on the two matchups with the sekiwake, and in his current condition he's far from a major favourite there either.

We've got our first departure from the sanyaku ranks after komusubi Hokutofuji fell victim to Endo in an entertaining if rather messy match. Tamawashi stands one loss away from vacating his sekiwake slot, while Mitakeumi prevailed over Daieisho and can still hope to achieve kachikoshi, although it remains an uphill battle.

Ichinojo's isn't guaranteed to finish as the #1 contender for promotion to sanyaku yet, but it's hard to see how he's going to get brushed aside by the likes of Endo, Daieisho or Aoiyama from here, so the more interesting question for the final four days should be if there'll be room for more than one promotee and who's gonna join Ichi on the way up if so. Aoiyama is the prime candidate right now, but he may find himself having to battle it out against the higher-ranking maegashira (not tomorrow though...) and it remains to be seen if he's up to that task.

                        S    Tamawashi     4-7
     5-6  Mitakeumi     K    Hokutofuji    3-8  (x)

                        M1   Endo          4-7
     5-6  Daieisho      M2   Myogiryu      4-7
                        M4   Ichinojo     10-1
     6-5  Chiyotairyu   M5   Onosho        4-7  (x)
     6-5  Okinoumi      M6
     9-2  Aoiyama       M7
     7-4  Asanoyama     M8   Kotoshogiku   9-2
     8-3  Ryuden        M11

It's time for our first yokozuna-ozeki matches of the basho tomorrow, when Hakuho faces Tochinoshin and Kakuryu meets Takayasu. The latter pairing should see the loser eliminated from yusho contention. The third ozeki Goeido will do battle with Takakeisho in another highly interesting matchup.

Yutakayama was defeated by Yago in a see-saw battle and is makekoshi for the 4th straight basho, and even earlier than the last couple of times. He may still survive in makuuchi through banzuke luck from here, but I doubt anyone will bet on the five-day winning streak needed to facilitate that. Two other pairs of rikishi were also matched up in the demotion zone: Tomokaze was successful in a safety playoff with Sadanoumi, while Terutsuyoshi had to take a long time to defeat Chiyoshoma even after henkaing himself into an advantageous position. Elsewhere it was losses all around for Ikioi, Toyonoshima, Ishiura, Kotoeko and Daishoho, so Day 11 mostly made things worse down here.

Over in juryo the big news of the day was Chiyomaru's kachikoshi and now very likely return to the top division, courtesy of his 6th straight shiroboshi. Enho lost a completely wacky match with Azumaryu and may be drifting away from contention, now still requiring three wins for a convincing promotion record. (Although it's likely that two will give him a shot, given the less than spectacular maegashira records.) Sokokurai was at the losing end of Chiyomaru's victory, so we're now pretty much all out of even semi-decent promotion contenders beyond Enho. Maybe somebody will still put together a big winning streak here, but it's not looking too likely.

(1)  3-8  Sadanoumi     M9   Ikioi         1-10 (3)
                        M10  Yago          4-7  (1)
(x) kyujo Chiyonokuni   M12
(o)  6-5  Tomokaze      M13
(3)  3-8  Terutsuyoshi  M14  Toyonoshima   3-8  (4)
(1)  6-5  Ishiura       M15  Kotoeko       6-5  (1)
(3)  4-7  Daishoho      M16  Yutakayama    3-8  (~)
(2)  6-5  Chiyoshoma    M17  ---

(o) 10-1  Shimanoumi    J1   Chiyomaru     8-3  (o)
(~)  4-7  Kotoyuki      J2   Enho          6-5  (3)
                        J3   Daiamami      4-7  (~)
(~)  5-6  Takagenji     J4   Tokushoryu    6-5  (4)
(4)  6-5  Wakatakakage  J5
(~)  6-5  Kyokushuho    J6
                        J7   Sokokurai     7-4  (4)
(x)  6-5  Gagamaru      J8   Chiyonoumi    7-4  (~)
(x)  6-5  Kyokutaisei   J9
                        J12  Arawashi      8-3  (x)

The lower juryo guys had a rather more successful Day 11 than their maegashira counterparts did. Tobizaru, Mitoryu and Kiribayama all moved to within just one win of numerical safety, while Akiseyama, Aminishiki and Takanosho should be good for Natsu basho altogether. I'm writing "should" because the makushita crowd continues to put up one of the highest-quality sets of records we've seen lately and if push comes to shove we may well end up in a situation where some juryo guy ought to be overdemoted.

That being said we do have the first open slot after today as Daiseido lost for the 6th straight time and finds himself makushita-bound with makekoshi now. I'm not sure who to "award" this slot to, so I'll refrain for now. Top-ranked Irodori certainly should have done enough with 5 wins, but Churanoumi remains on course to the zensho record which is commonly regarded as the automatic top promotion. Former juryo regular Seiro improved his record to 5-1 as well and can also still produce a big final score that may cause consternation on the juryo side.

The sole pairing inside the top 5 makushita ranks saw Kotokamatani and Jokoryu meet, with the better end for the Sadogatake youngster.

                        J6   Tsurugisho    3-8  (1)
                        J9   Akiseyama     5-6  (o)
                        J10  Wakamotoharu  4-7  (2)
(1)  5-6  Tobizaru      J11  Aminishiki    6-5  (o)
(1)  6-5  Mitoryu       J12
(o)  7-4  Takanosho     J13  Takanofuji    4-7  (3)
(x)  3-8  Daiseido      J14  Kiribayama    7-4  (1)

     5-1  Irodori       Ms1
     3-3  Fujiazuma     Ms2
     3-3  Jokoryu       Ms3  Seiro         5-1
     3-3  Kaisho        Ms4  Kotodaigo     3-3
     6-0  Churanoumi    Ms5  Kotokamatani  4-2

In fact, the Irodori/Seiro/Churanoumi trio may already have done enough to take all the 3-3's out of contention, so the more interesting thing to watch for here on the home stretch might be whether or not we'll actually get three demotable juryo rikishi. Several of these KK-having and KK-targeting rikishi will surely get the opportunity to help make it happen, but not yet tomorrow.

Juryo yusho race:

10-1 J1e Shimanoumi

9-2 ---

8-3 J1w Chiyomaru, J12w Arawashi

Arawashi got victimized by a trademark Aminishiki henka while Shimanoumi posted another convincing win, this time over Kyokushuho, so now things appear to be nearly decided already. Chiyomaru prevailed over Sokokurai in the 7-3 pursuer battle, but having already faced (and lost to) Shimanoumi, he can't even do anything to close the gap on his own. Shimanoumi-Arawashi is still a possible matchup, but given the large difference in rank they might not end up bothering if Shimanoumi doesn't start dropping bouts. In any case it'll be Arawashi (J7e 5-6) who gets tomorrow's opportunity to unravel the leader a bit. The 8-3 duo, meanwhile, will face 6-5 Tomozuna pair Kyokushuho (J6e, against Chiyomaru) and Kyokutaisei (J9e, versus Arawashi).

Edited by Asashosakari
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So far many guys are strong candidates for demotion but with just a couple of guys worth being promoted from juryo, next basho's banzuke may be a nightmare to guess. Probably a lot of banzuke luck going on...

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Day 12 (results, text-only results)

12-0 Ye Hakuho

11-1 M4w Ichinojo

10-2 O1e Takayasu, O1w Goeido, M7e Aoiyama, M8w Kotoshogiku

    12-0  Hakuho        Y    Kakuryu       9-3
    10-2  Takayasu      O1   Goeido       10-2
     6-6  Tochinoshin   O2
     8-4  Takakeisho    S

Yokozuna Hakuho remains in the lead following a comfortable victory over Tochinoshin, whose hopes of retaining his ozeki rank took another hit. Ichinojo continues to keep up the chase, today with an almost too easy defeat of Asanoyama. The other top matches of the day saw Takayasu beat yokozuna Kakuryu and Goeido prevail over upstart Takakeisho, so both ozeki have maintained their small chance to backdoor their way into yusho contention for now. Maegashira Aoiyama and Kotoshogiku also improved to 10-2 for a continued high-quality yusho race.

Takakeisho's ozeki hopes may be slipping away at the same rate as Tochinoshin's, and indeed these two might well end up on a senshuraku collision course that only one can walk out of successfully.

We've also moved one step closer to losing both komusubi to makekoshi this basho, courtesy of Myogiryu's convincing win against Mitakeumi. Sekiwake Tamawashi avoided MK for now against Endo...Endo's bouts this basho are not what I'd consider aesthetically pleasing, but he sure has a knack for wacky entertainment right now. In any case, the race for the first (and so far still only) certain sanyaku promotion is officially down to early double-digit winners Ichinojo and Aoiyama.

                        S    Tamawashi     5-7
     5-7  Mitakeumi     K    Hokutofuji    4-8  (x)

                        M1   Endo          4-8  (x)
     6-6  Daieisho      M2   Myogiryu      5-7
                        M4   Ichinojo     11-1
     6-6  Chiyotairyu   M5
     7-5  Okinoumi      M6
    10-2  Aoiyama       M7
(x)  7-5  Asanoyama     M8   Kotoshogiku  10-2
(x)  8-4  Ryuden        M11

The basho action continues to heat up, tomorrow with leader Hakuho facing his first bonafide co-contender in Goeido. Takakeisho's promotion mettle with be tested next by Takayasu, while Tochinoshin's survival is at stake against Kakuryu. Of the three maegashira-ranked yusho candidates only Ichinojo is facing a higher-ranked opponent, namely Mitakeumi. (Tough draw when you're already on seven losses...) Aoiyama and Kotoshogiku will be going against lower maegashira Yoshikaze and Meisei, respectively.

It was another day to forget for the maegashira demotion zone where the 10 rikishi involved somehow managed to go 1-9 on the day - Daishoho was the only winner, against the broken shell of the man known as Ikioi. Consequently we're currently on course for approximately 31 demotable maegashira (may be slightly exaggerated). In all seriousness though, Yutakayama should be impossible to keep after today's loss to Yoshikaze, and Toyonoshima has also clinched a juryo-worthy record already. No less than five four other candidates ought to win at least two of their remaining three matches.


Toyonoshima's kuroboshi came at the hands of visitor Enho, who stopped his consecutive losses at two and now has an excellent chance to earn his top division debut. Given the situation among the maegashira, a simple 8-7 record will be almost certainly enough now. (I'll keep tracking the usual numerical metrics though.) Tokushoryu is on a mini-run of three straight wins and has become the last remaining other rikishi who can still secure a properly promotable win-loss score - Wakatakakage and Sokokurai fell off the pace at last today.


(1)  3-9  Sadanoumi     M9   Ikioi         1-11 (3)
                        M10  Yago          4-8  (1)
(x) kyujo Chiyonokuni   M12
(3)  3-9  Terutsuyoshi  M14  Toyonoshima   3-9  (~)
(1)  6-6  Ishiura       M15  Kotoeko       6-6  (1)
(2)  5-7  Daishoho      M16  Yutakayama    3-9  (x)
(2)  6-6  Chiyoshoma    M17  ---

(o) 10-2  Shimanoumi    J1   Chiyomaru     8-4  (o)
(~)  5-7  Kotoyuki      J2   Enho          7-5  (2)
                        J3   Daiamami      5-7  (~)
(x)  5-7  Takagenji     J4   Tokushoryu    7-5  (3)
(~)  6-6  Wakatakakage  J5
(~)  7-5  Kyokushuho    J6
                        J7   Sokokurai     7-5  (~)
                        J8   Chiyonoumi    7-5  (x)

Another trio of lower juryo denizens ensured their continued presence in the second division today, these being Tsurugisho (first win in four days), Mitoryu and rookie Kiribayama. Congrats to the latter on his debut KK! Wakamotoharu and Takanofuji also moved closer to safety, only Tobizaru wasn't able to join in. It's looking increasingly likely that the juryo division will be very difficult to constitute both at the top and at the bottom for May.

No action over in makushita as everybody of relevance was already on the dohyo on Day 11.

                        J6   Tsurugisho    4-8  (o)
                        J10  Wakamotoharu  5-7  (1)
(1)  5-7  Tobizaru      J11
(o)  7-5  Mitoryu       J12
                        J13  Takanofuji    5-7  (2)
(x)  3-9  Daiseido      J14  Kiribayama    8-4  (o)

     5-1  Irodori       Ms1
     3-3  Fujiazuma     Ms2
     3-3  Jokoryu       Ms3  Seiro         5-1
     3-3  Kaisho        Ms4  Kotodaigo     3-3
     6-0  Churanoumi    Ms5  Kotokamatani  4-2

As has been the case for the last few years, the schedulers don't seem particularly bothered to incorporate the promotion/demotion picture into their decisions about the makushita 6-0 guys, so it's Churanoumi in the straight-up yusho decider with low-ranked Naya rather than against a tougher opponent, e.g. Fujiazuma, Seiro or somebody from juryo. The only other top 5 rikishi to fight on Day 13 is virtually promoted Irodori.

From what I can tell they've prepared makushita opponents for Seiro and Kotokamatani, while the 3-3 quartet is in reserve for possible juryo duties. It'll also be possible to match two of them directly, but not all four. (Jokoryu hasn't faced any of the others yet.) So it's likely that at least two of them will find themselves on a juryo schedule, although another conceivable alternative would be to not send up anyone and involve the next two lower 3-3's Hoshoryu and Shiba in the match-making instead. We'll probably know more about where this is going after tomorrow's action.

Edited by Asashosakari
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Juryo yusho race:

10-2 J1e Shimanoumi

9-3 ---

8-4 J1w Chiyomaru, J12w Arawashi, J13e Takanosho, J14w Kiribayama

It's somehow heartening to see at least one juryo-like juryo day this basho, after all. Shimanoumi uncharacteristically wasn't able to finish off Azumaryu at the edge and got the tables turned on himself for his second loss. It's still a two-win lead though courtesy of Chiyomaru and Arawashi not looking any better today against Kyokushuho and Kyokutaisei. Kiribayama is suddenly in the mix after winning 5 of his last 6 matches, and Takanosho is back in the picture for the second time after he previously fell off the pace from 5-2. (On a sidenote, I'm happy to see Takanosho perform so well this basho after his completely injury-ruined January.)

If nothing else this development has expanded the number of sensible opponents for Shimanoumi again...but he's not facing any of the 8-4's tomorrow, but rather J7w 7-5 Sokokurai. I suppose rank trumps record here still. At least they're consistent about it, as Chiyomaru hasn't received any of the lower-ranked 8-4's either, meeting instead Azumaryu (J7e 6-6). The other three have already met in all combinations, so that was out of the cards anyway.

Lower division yusho races (Day 11 results):

6-0 Ms5e Churanoumi (Kise)
5-1 Ms30w Kitaharima (Yamahibiki)
6-0 Ms51e Naya (Otake)
5-1 Ms58w Kotoseigo (Sadogatake)

5-1 Sd22e Kotohayato (Sadogatake)
6-0 Sd39w Karatsuumi (Tamanoi)
6-0 Sd54e Taichiyama (Chiganoura)
5-1 Sd72e Sazanami (Isenoumi)
5-1 Sd88w Asanojo (Takasago)
6-0 Sd94e Kotomiyakura (Sadogatake)

6-0 Jd15w Roga (Futagoyama)
5-1 Jd30e Wakayamanaka (Nishonoseki)
6-0 Jd48w Terunofuji (Isegahama)
5-1 Jd74w Narumi (Onomatsu)
5-1 Jd82e Shimomura (Sakaigawa)
6-0 Jd84w Sadatsuyoshi (Sakaigawa)

6-0 Jk19w Terasawa (Takasago)

The two favoured contenders prevailed in makushita, although it could have easily gone the other way as both Naya and Churanoumi were put under serious pressure by their opponents before they finally managed to stem the tide and win. As mentioned above we're getting the direct deciding match here tomorrow. A Naya victory would have to rate as a major surprise, of course.

Karatsuumi was also moving backwards a lot against Kotohayato before a quick and decisive show of force ended it in favour of the former two-time sandanme winner. Kotomiyakura-Asanojo was also quite a see-saw battle until the Sadogatake youngster came through, while Taichiyama finished off Sazanami fast and in convincing fashion.

In jonidan my predicted 6-0 lineup didn't quite come to fruition. Wakayamanaka gave a good account of himself but Roga just proved too strong, Terunofuji overwhelmed Shimomura right from the tachiai (probably a good strategy given his current form), but Narumi found himself crashing across the tawara when Sadatsuyoshi side-stepped him while moving backwards.

With 3 undefeated rikishi apiece in sandanme and jonidan we're getting the usual cross-divisional matchup here, i.e. Kotomiyakura-Roga. Based on what he showed on Day 11 Kotomiyakura might be able to pull off the upset, but I think Roga will take it. In what would then be a yusho-deciding sandanme match I'm inclined to favour Taichiyama. I'm not sure I should offer any opinion on how Terunofuji's bout might go...suffice it to say he's lucky to be fighting in mid-jonidan this basho. Still, Sadatsuyoshi might be large enough and mobile enough to exploit the ex-ozeki's current limitations.

And finally, Terasawa had absolutely no trouble progressing to 6-0. He's closing his basho against Satsumao (Jk13e 5-1), yet another jonokuchi/low jonidan regular who shouldn't present much of an issue.

Edited by Asashosakari
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1 hour ago, Asashosakari said:

                        M10  Yago          4-8  (2)

Shouldn't this be a 1 ?

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8 minutes ago, lackmaker said:

Is there a definite sanyaku spot already open if Tochinoshin gets relegated?

Quite on the contrary.

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1 hour ago, lackmaker said:

Is there a definite sanyaku spot already open if Tochinoshin gets relegated?

A demoted Ozeki often becomes a third Sekiwake, so whatever happens with him it shouldn’t affect the number of sanyaku spots. Of course, sumo isn’t known for its consistency in this sort of thing. Baruto and Kotooshu, for example, took one of the two regular Sekiwake slots, whereas Kotoshogiku and Terunofuji didn’t.

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8 hours ago, Jakusotsu said:

Shouldn't this be a 1 ?

My irrational dislike of Yago's sumo has evidently affected my ability to adjust numbers. Fixed now (was wrong on Day 11 already).

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The former sekitori results through Day 12.

new KK: Kizenryu, Tenkaiho, Yamaguchi

new MK: Sagatsukasa, Sakigake, Kagamio, Higonojo, Chiyonoo

Record   Rank   Shikona Heya Age Out
3-3 Ms2e Fujiazuma Tamanoi 31 12
3-3 Ms3e Jokoryu Kise 30 1
5-1 Ms3w Seiro Shikoroyama 30 3
6-0 Ms5e Churanoumi Kise 25 4
1-5 Ms6w Tokushinho Kise 34 20
4-2 Ms9e Kizenryu Kise 33 4
1-3-2 Ms9w Dewahayate Dewanoumi 30 16
2-4 Ms10e Sagatsukasa Irumagawa 37 30
3-3 Ms11e Akua Tatsunami 28 3
3-3 Ms11w Toyohibiki Sakaigawa 34 7
2-4 Ms12w Sakigake Shibatayama 32 25
2-4 Ms13w Asabenkei Takasago 30 5
1-5 Ms18e Tochihiryu Kasugano 31 7
3-3 Ms20e Gokushindo Nishikido 22 2
3-3 Ms23w Asahisho Tomozuna 29 11
2-4 Ms25w Kagamio Kagamiyama 31 17
5-1 Ms26e Chiyootori Kokonoe 26 8
3-3 Ms29e Nionoumi Yamahibiki 32 34
5-1 Ms30w Kitaharima Yamahibiki 32 9
2-4 Ms34w Higonojo Kise 34 29
2-4 Ms35w Chiyonoo Kokonoe 27 2
kyujo Ms36w Ura Kise 26 7
2-4 Ms40e Keitenkai Onomatsu 29 39
5-1 Ms41w Takaryu Kise 27 22
5-1 Ms50e Chiyoarashi Kokonoe 27 34
4-2 Ms52w Tenkaiho Onoe 34 17
3-3 Ms57e Masunoyama Chiganoura 28 24
2-4 Sd3e Kaonishiki Azumazeki 40 45
1-5 Sd7w Dairaido Takadagawa 38 75
kyujo Sd17e Homarefuji Isegahama 33 4
4-2 Sd34e Yamaguchi Miyagino 29 7
3-3 Sd35w Yoshiazuma Tamanoi 41 27
3-3 Sd50e Hitenryu Tatsunami 34 45
6-0 Jd48w Terunofuji Isegahama 27 5
5-1 Jd50w Amakaze Oguruma 27 6


Edited by Asashosakari
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Day 13 (results, text-only results)

13-0 Ye Hakuho

12-1 M4w Ichinojo

11-2 ---

    13-0  Hakuho        Y    Kakuryu      10-3
    10-3  Takayasu      O1   Goeido       10-3
     6-7  Tochinoshin   O2
     9-4  Takakeisho    S

And just like that the yusho race has become a two-horse race. (Not a literal description of Ichinojo.) The entire 10-2 crowd was defeated today, first maegashira duo Kotoshogiku and Aoiyama who fell victim to simply superior sumo by opponents on lengthy winning streaks, namely Meisei (7 days) and Yoshikaze (8). Later on, ozeki Takayasu found himself dominated by Takakeisho, and Goeido gave it his best shot against leading Hakuho in the final bout of the day, but as so often, once the yokozuna got hold of the mawashi it was all over. Thus we can solely give thanks to Ichinojo for maintaining some suspense in the yusho race, courtesy of a slapdown victory over struggling Mitakeumi that looked almost too easy in execution.

Takakeisho's record has improved to 9-4 with this, and his ozeki prospects are certainly on the up at the moment - his remaining two opponents will by Ichinojo and Tochinoshin, against whom he holds head-to-head records of 7-2 and 5-1 respectively. It still won't be a walk in the park at all, what with Ichinojo in the yusho hunt and Tochinoshin desperate to retain his own ozeki rank, but there could have been worse draws for a must(?)-win final weekend. Tochinoshin for his part did all he probably could against Kakuryu today, but the yokozuna came to play and prevailed, in a strength battle on the belt no less.

The lower sanyaku not named Takakeisho are MK all around after today, with Mitakeumi joined on the losing side by Tamawashi - a nice slapfest ensued between him and Chiyotairyu, in which the latter managed to turn the tables halfway through and proceeded to win from a rather disadvantageous interim position. We'll see if Tamawashi at least manages not to fall out of sanyaku altogether.

A good point was raised earlier that a possible Tochinoshin demotion could "claim" an available sanyaku slot, but at least for Ichinojo's promotion chances that's no longer relevant now; at least one promotion will occur and he's no longer at risk of being passed by anybody else. Daieisho continues to surprise, today with a strong win over Onosho, and he's arguably the #2 candidate for a promotion right now. ("Arguably" because Aoiyama's still ahead by the numbers, but he's of course well outside the joi-jin.)

                        S    Tamawashi     5-8
(x)  5-8  Mitakeumi     K    Hokutofuji    5-8  (x)

     7-6  Daieisho      M2   Myogiryu      5-8  (x)
                        M4   Ichinojo     12-1  (o)
     7-6  Chiyotairyu   M5
     7-6  Okinoumi      M6
    10-3  Aoiyama       M7
                        M8   Kotoshogiku  10-3

As mentioned it's promotion-seeking Takakeisho for Ichinojo tomorrow, while Hakuho faces Takayasu. In between those two matches Tochinoshin's rank will be on the line against Tamawashi. Goeido and Kakuryu round out the high-ranker action in the day's musubi no ichiban.

A mixed bag of results in the low maegashira ranks, which still was an improvement over what we've seen down there on other days recently. Sadanoumi prevailed over Toyonoshima in a battle of rikishi with disappointing second-week results, and while Sadanoumi can plan for Natsu basho as a makuuchi rikishi now, it was probably curtains for Toyonoshima's survival hopes with his 10th loss. Sadanoumi was joined on safe shores by Yago who defeated Kotoeko, another demotion candidate who has fallen apart badly of late. In further intra-demotee action a shiroboshi also went Daishoho's way at the expense of Ishiura.

Chiyoshoma and Terutsuyoshi were successful as well but still have more work to do, while Ikioi is now demotable by the numbers after losing to Abi, and is quickly running out of space when it comes to possible banzuke luck, too.

Terutsuyoshi's victory came against Kotoyuki, visiting from juryo, and it also ensured that he'll be a top division guest at best again next basho as he's now makekoshi. Enho clinched his KK, conversely, and should be nearly certain for a makuuchi debut in May. We've just about run out of further candidates now after Tokushoryu also fell out of the numbers range today. The most likely outside possibility may in fact be Daiamami all of a sudden, who's on a three-day winning streak and has looked significantly improved from his craptacular first 10 days of action.

(o)  4-9  Sadanoumi     M9   Ikioi         1-12 (~)
                        M10  Yago          5-8  (o)
(x) kyujo Chiyonokuni   M12
(2)  4-9  Terutsuyoshi  M14  Toyonoshima   3-10 (x)
(1)  6-7  Ishiura       M15  Kotoeko       6-7  (1)
(1)  6-7  Daishoho      M16  Yutakayama    3-10 (x)
(1)  7-6  Chiyoshoma    M17  ---

(o) 11-2  Shimanoumi    J1   Chiyomaru     9-4  (o)
(x)  5-8  Kotoyuki      J2   Enho          8-5  (1)
                        J3   Daiamami      6-7  (~)
                        J4   Tokushoryu    7-6  (~)
(~)  7-6  Wakatakakage  J5
(x)  7-6  Kyokushuho    J6
                        J7   Sokokurai     7-6  (x)

I have a feeling I'll be forced to add further names in juryo on Day 15 for the full picture...

Takanofuji was felled by upper-ranked Wakatakakage today and finds himself makekoshi, which I think has assured Irodori's promotion after all. Takanofuji may not actually end up as the second-worst candidate for demotion, but if he is, he's surely going to get dropped even with a 7-8 final record when the record to be compared with it is 5-2 at Ms1e. It could have been 6-1 for Irodori,of course, but he wasn't able to come through against former makushita yusho candidate Ichiyamamoto today.

Speaking of the makushita yusho, it's in the bag for Churanoumi, and he'll now be returning for a hopefully more successful second attempt at juryo after his 5-10 effort last July.

And getting back to the juryo side of these matters: Wakamotoharu also still remains in danger of demotion following today's loss against Enho from the other end of the division. Tobizaru should normally be safe after securing his 6th win against Gagamaru, but it's all rather iffy in this particular basho.

                        J9   Akiseyama     5-8  (?)
                        J10  Wakamotoharu  5-8  (1)
(?)  6-7  Tobizaru      J11
                        J13  Takanofuji    5-8  (2)
(x)  3-10 Daiseido      J14

(o)  5-2  Irodori       Ms1
     3-3  Fujiazuma     Ms2
     3-3  Jokoryu       Ms3  Seiro         5-1
     3-3  Kaisho        Ms4  Kotodaigo     3-3
(o)  7-0  Churanoumi    Ms5  Kotokamatani  4-2

Since I'm keeping Tobizaru as a questionably-safe rikishi I've also opted to re-add Akiseyama for now. The main wildcard is Seiro - the last time a 6-1 wasn't sufficient to secure promotion from Ms4 or higher was back in the mid-1960s, so this could well be a level of performance where they might be inclined to think about overdemotions. With a 5-2 final record he's not gonna make it, of course, unless Wakamotoharu and Takanofuji actually both drop to demotable records to open up three slots properly. In any case, Seiro's final opponent for tomorrow is the rather low-ranked Kaito from Ms16w.

As for the rest of the makushita-joi, as there was no Day 13 withdrawal and there's now no need to retain rikishi for fill-in roles, this turned out to be the choice they've gone with:

On 21/03/2019 at 20:31, Asashosakari said:

(...) the 3-3 quartet is in reserve for possible juryo duties. (...) another conceivable alternative would be to not send up anyone and involve the next two lower 3-3's Hoshoryu and Shiba in the match-making instead.

So, it's ex-makuuchi veterans Fujiazuma and Jokoryu battling it out for the highest-ranked 4-3 record, which won't be sufficient for promotion unless there's a surprise sekitori retirement, while Kaisho goes against Ms7w Hoshoryu and Kotodaigo meets Ms10w Shiba.

And over in juryo the Day 14 schedule sees Wakamotoharu and Takanofuji facing...each other. Well then. I'm semi-surprised now the bout hadn't already taken place given the small difference in rank. This will of course end either with Wakamotoharu safe(-ish) and Takanofuji demoted, or with both in need of a senshuraku win. (Although as mentioned even a 7-8 might not help Takanofuji anymore...)

Edited by Asashosakari
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Juryo yusho race:

11-2 J1e Shimanoumi

10-3 ---

9-4 J1w Chiyomaru, J13e Takanosho

Unlike last basho he hasn't led from start to finish this month, but defending champion Shimanoumi is assured at least a playoff berth after today, and will very likely win outright; his two-win lead got maintained with a victory over Sokokurai. The group of "pursuers" was cut in half with Arawashi (third straight loss) and Kiribayama dropping out of view.

I suppose they're doing the best they can with what's left on the table now - Takanosho hasn't faced either of the two top-rankers yet, so he gets Chiyomaru tomorrow, and would likely meet Shimanoumi on senshuraku if the leader falters against Chiyonoumi (J8w 7-6) for a not-yet-decided yusho. The other scenario would be a Shimanoumi loss and Chiyomaru win, which may lead to both being placed against 7-7 rikishi or something. (Perhaps even against guys facing demotion from juryo. Or heck, guys facing demotion from makuuchi!) Of course, the most probable scenario is simply that Shimanoumi clinches tomorrow.

Lower division yusho races (Day 13 results):

7-0 Ms5e Churanoumi (Kise)
6-1 Ms51e Naya (Otake)

7-0 Sd39w Karatsuumi (Tamanoi)
6-1 Sd54e Taichiyama (Chiganoura)
6-1 Sd94e Kotomiyakura (Sadogatake)

7-0 Jd15w Roga (Futagoyama)
7-0 Jd48w Terunofuji (Isegahama)
6-1 Jd84w Sadatsuyoshi (Sakaigawa)

7-0 Jk19w Terasawa (Takasago)

Unfortunately all the matches here weren't much to write home about. Neither Kotomiyakura nor Sadatsuyoshi was able to duplicate their Day 11 performances and both lost in short order, so we're getting the Roga-Terunofuji jonidan playoff on senshuraku, which should be a spectacle if nothing else. Based on what he's shown this basho I can't help but have the feeling that it might end up as Terunofuji's final match in front of a large audience...

Taichiyama was rather disappointing as well and found himself thrust down unceremoniously by Karatsuumi, now a three-time (three-time, three-time) sandanme yusho winner. Unsurprisingly that ties the all-time lead for championships in this division, and 4 lower division titles altogether (he won in jonidan once) is also not exactly common. I don't harbour much hope that we won't be seeing Karatsuumi back in sandanme before too long, but kudos on the victory all the same.

Churanoumi has taken the makushita title as already mentioned in the sekitori round-up, and with three toriteki championships (once each in Jd, Sd and now Ms) he's also getting up there. Of course, he'll probably rather become a juryo fixture now than have opportunities to add to that count in the future. Defeated Naya will still move up to near Ms20, where he'll probably have his hands full next basho.

And lastly the jonokuchi decider was the expected foregone conclusion. Here's hoping Terasawa is over his injury woes and he can push on with his career properly now, nearly a year after his original debut.

Edited by Asashosakari
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11 hours ago, Asashosakari said:

I have a feeling I'll be forced to add further names in juryo on Day 15 for the full picture...

Takagenji as the possible top in the queue to bring down Ikioi would make him permanent in the dislike rank on my personal banzuke. Fortunately Ikioi won, but a loss tomorrow ...

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I got a question for the banzuke experts, we all know that when an Ozeki is demoted with 2 Sekiwake already there, then they will create a 3rd sekiwake slot, but what conditions have to exist for them to create a 3rd slot for a promotion?

Specifically, if Takakeisho wins but is somehow denied a promotion (unlikely but lets run with it), and Tochinoshin gets pushed down, would a 14-1 jun-yusho do it to create a 3rd slot for Ichinojo?

And more generally, what in the abstract do you think has to happen for a promotee to force a 3rd sekiwake or komosubi slot?

Edited by Rigel

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13 minutes ago, Rigel said:

Specifically, if Takakeisho wins but is somehow denied a promotion (unlikely but lets run with it), and Tochinoshin gets pushed down, would a 14-1 jun-yusho do it to create a 3rd slot for Ichinojo?

I'm no expert but I would say yes they would. Only it would not be a 3rd slot of Ichinojo. The 3rd slot is for the demoted Ozeki, a special consideration. If it happens Tochinoshin would be S2 I think.  It would have been a lot more interesting there if a Komusubi KKed. Do they create a 4th Sekiwake slot or does Ichonojo get shafted? 

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43 minutes ago, Rigel said:

I got a question for the banzuke experts, we all know that when an Ozeki is demoted with 2 Sekiwake already there, then they will create a 3rd sekiwake slot, but what conditions have to exist for them to create a 3rd slot for a promotion?

Specifically, if Takakeisho wins but is somehow denied a promotion (unlikely but lets run with it), and Tochinoshin gets pushed down, would a 14-1 jun-yusho do it to create a 3rd slot for Ichinojo?

And more generally, what in the abstract do you think has to happen for a promotee to force a 3rd sekiwake or komosubi slot?

Asashosakari would know best. IMHO, if Ichinojo were a Komusubi, he would "force" a promotion to Sekiwake with 11+ wins. As an M4w, he is ranked too low to "force" a Sekiwake promotion. He would be promoted to Komusubi.

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Day 14 (results, text-only results)

14-0 Ye Hakuho

13-1 M4w Ichinojo

12-2 ---

    14-0  Hakuho        Y    Kakuryu      10-4
    10-4  Takayasu      O1   Goeido       11-3
     7-7  Tochinoshin   O2
     9-5  Takakeisho    S

Another day, another "can't believe how easy that looked" victory for Ichinojo, this time over sekiwake Takakeisho whose previous dominance of the benemoth Mongolian didn't help him any today. Hakuho had to work a little bit harder to stay in the sole lead, although he was in control of his match with Takayasu pretty much all the way, too. We're guaranteed a runner-up score of at least 13-2 with this, only the second such in the last 10 tournaments. 14-1 hasn't happened in over five years.

Meanwhile, I'm as baffled as everyone about where that loss has left Takakeisho's ozeki run in the eyes of the ones who are tasked with the thumbs up/down decision on it. I'm personally in the camp that 10 wins should do it given the supporting cast of results from his previous three tournaments, but of course the same arguments that were given against pulling the trigger in January can be applied all the same again. It'll be a high-stakes senshuraku matchup with kadoban ozeki Tochinoshin no matter what, after the latter moved up to 7-7 with a hard-fought win over Tamawashi to avoid his demotion for now. I suppose a high quality victory may go a long way towards legitimizing Takakeisho's ozeki bonafides, although it's of course questionable how much quality one should expect from a match where the opponent will be quite desperate to win by any means possible.

Last not least the day was ended by the meeting of Kakuryu and Goeido, in which the ozeki steamrolled his way to victory in short and sweet order. If only he could show this a few more times per basho...

Daieisho failed to clinch his kachikoshi against Abi, so we're not any wiser about the new sanyaku makeup on that end either. Tamawashi is now fully demotable after his 9th loss, while both komusubi incumbents improved to 6-8 (with all too easy defeats of Chiyotairyu and Tochiozan). I guess it's not completely out of the question that at least Mitakeumi could be kept as komusubi with a 7-8 finish; Hokutofuji probably only if they're really gung-ho on avoiding promotions of very low-ranked maegashira Aoiyama and Kotoshogiku. That duo did move up to 11-3 having traded opponents Yoshikaze and Meisei from Day 13, and ending their long winning streaks this time.

                        S    Tamawashi     5-9  (x)
(x)  6-8  Mitakeumi     K    Hokutofuji    6-8  (x)

     7-7  Daieisho      M2
                        M4   Ichinojo     13-1  (o)
     7-7  Chiyotairyu   M5
     7-7  Okinoumi      M6
    11-3  Aoiyama       M7
                        M8   Kotoshogiku  11-3

I'm not sure anyone was thinking of Daieisho as a useful contributor to a yusho race two weeks ago, but here he is, facing Ichinojo tomorrow. If nothing else it's nice that the match is a big deal for him, too, what with a likely debut in sanyaku on the line. Beyond that, Ichinojo's yusho hopes will have to rest with Kakuryu who needs to achieve the improbable and prevent fellow yokozuna Hakuho's would-be 15th zensho record to enable a playoff decision.

Of course, we may already have a playoff of sorts on our hands with the aforementioned battle between Tochinoshin and Takakeisho. Takayasu-Goeido rounds out the final three (regulation) bouts of the tournament.

Moving on to the bottom of the top division, I'm not sure we've ever had this many maegashira on the bubble entering Day 15. No less than five of them are finding themselves in this predicament - the four who already were in this situation 24 hours ago posted all-around losses again (with Daishoho and Ishiura falling to MK in the process), while Terutsuyoshi avoided the juryo ticket for now with victory over Kotoeko.

Takagenji was today's visitor from juryo and did his thing on Ishiura to improve his score to 7-7. My jinx on Daiamami worked out beautifully (...) as his promotion chances are definitely toast at 6-8 with today's loss to Mitoryu. Tokushoryu secured his kachikoshi against Aminishiki and might well find himself promoted even with these 8 wins, and 9 would arguably make him a pretty great candidate given what else is out there. That what else still includes Enho who wasn't able to add to his own 8 wins today, losing to a quick Kyokushuho slapdown.

                        M9   Ikioi         2-12 (~)
(x) kyujo Chiyonokuni   M12
(1)  5-9  Terutsuyoshi  M14  Toyonoshima   4-10 (~)
(1)  6-8  Ishiura       M15  Kotoeko       6-8  (1)
(1)  6-8  Daishoho      M16  Yutakayama    3-11 (x)
(1)  7-7  Chiyoshoma    M17  ---

(o) 12-2  Shimanoumi    J1   Chiyomaru     9-5  (o)
                        J2   Enho          8-6  (1)
                        J3   Daiamami      6-8  (x)
(~)  7-7  Takagenji     J4   Tokushoryu    8-6  (~)
(~)  7-7  Wakatakakage  J5
(~)  8-6  Kyokushuho    J6

I've gone whole hog here and not only re-added Takagenji but also kept Kyokushuho (already x'ed yesterday) due to his achieving kachikoshi, and not disregarded Wakatakakage.

The five endangered maegashira already met in all possible combinations, so there are no head-to-head meetings here. The closest thing is arguably the match between Terutsuyoshi and Ikioi in which the latter could conceivably still save his bacon with a win. Toyonoshima is behind the entire fivesome even if he wins on senshuraku (he faces MK Kotoyuki from juryo), but I've upgraded him to questionable status anyway, as it's quite possible that there could be only three promotions in exchange for Chiyonokuni, Yutakayama and a losing Ikioi.

All in all, this has the makings of a huge mess, though maybe we'll get lucky and everybody involved posts so many wins tomorrow that it'll be possible to cobble 42 decent makuuchi rikishi together.

Things don't look much prettier one division down, mostly because Seiro did complete his 6-1 result to make himself into a prime promotion candidate. The good news is that it's at least still possible to get three regular demotees after Takanofuji pulled Wakamotoharu down into the morass as well. Akiseyama is also up the creek with his 6th loss in 7 days, while Tobizaru is safe for good at 7-7. Poor Daiseido will be falling deep into makushita - today he almost had his hands on another shiroboshi at last, but a mono-ii confirmed opponent Tsurugisho's successful tawara ballet act, so it was the 9th straight loss for Daiseido instead. Tough basho from what was a promising 3-2 start...

The KK playoff between the two highest-ranked 3-3's in makushita was won by Fujiazuma, so that's a third straight KK for him and a third straight MK for Jokoryu. I think there are enough decent records below the top 5 ranks that Jokoryu won't be hanging in there for May, so he's probably at least two more basho away from another sekitori return now. The other 3-3 duo Kaisho and Kotodaigo are also headed down after their losses to lower-ranked Hoshoryu and Shiba. Kind of strange how what looked like a really stacked makushita-joi on the middle weekend has ended up with only 5 kachikoshi after all.

                        J9   Akiseyama     5-9  (?)
                        J10  Wakamotoharu  5-9  (1)
(o)  7-7  Tobizaru      J11
                        J13  Takanofuji    6-8  (1)
(x)  3-11 Daiseido      J14

(o)  5-2  Irodori       Ms1
     4-3  Fujiazuma     Ms2
(x)  3-4  Jokoryu       Ms3  Seiro         6-1
(x)  3-4  Kaisho        Ms4  Kotodaigo     3-4  (x)
(o)  7-0  Churanoumi    Ms5  Kotokamatani  4-2

Kotokamatani finishes off the action here tomorrow against fellow top prospect youngster Shonannoumi (Ms8w). The demotions from juryo will be decided in Akiseyama-Takanosho (J13e 10-4), Takanofuji-Sokokurai (J7w 7-7) and Wakamotoharu-Azumaryu (J7e 7-7). I can't see much of a way for Fujiazuma to grab a promotion slot, perhaps barring a scenario where Akiseyama finishes 5-10 and Takanofuji 7-8, and they decide to overdemote both of them for "fairness" reasons much like they did with Sagatsukasa/Kizenryu/Akiseyama (uh-oh...) after Natsu 2013, which also created at least one promotee that really didn't "have to" get moved up.

Juryo yusho race:

12-2 J1e Shimanoumi

11-3 ---

10-4 J13e Takanosho

Takanosho won the 9-4 duel against Chiyomaru in very decisive fashion - you could be excused for wondering which of the two is the one returning to makuuchi for May - but it already didn't matter as Shimanoumi had clinched the yusho in the preceding bout. And what a bout that was! Full credit to Chiyonoumi for pushing Shimanoumi all the way. A really nice way to cap off Shimanoumi's outstanding back-to-back yusho achievement. As mentioned elsewhere already that's only the 21st time since the yusho system came into effect 110 years ago, with Shimanoumi the 14th to do it in the 15-day / 6-basho eras. 

Only makuuchi and jonidan left to decide their respective championships.

Edited by Asashosakari
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