Kyushu 2019 Day Fourteen Recap
The yusho race is officially over. Congratulations to Hakuho on his 43rd yusho. That might make it seem like there's little to watch on Day Fifteen. Actually, pretty much everything besides the yusho is still on the table in some way.
Asanoyama is guaranteed at least a share of the jun-yusho. Shodai can share it if he wins and Asanoyama loses. That arithmetic is much easier because the two square off. Asanoyama has a 2-1 career advantage, including the last two. Asanoyama will come right at Shodai, but if anyone can move Asanoyama around in unpredictable ways it will be Shodai.
Asanoyama and Shodai are also both in line for some Special Prize, and it's not unlikely that the Sumo Association puts one as a conditional win based on who wins their match. Odds are they will share a Fighting Spirit or Outstanding Performance prize and have a contest for sole possesion of the other. Of course, making prediction about Special Prizes is a fools' errand. Ishiura might have a chance at the Technique Prize, because he has won with 7 different kimarite, including a very rare mitokorozeme, or triple attack. But he also has 8 wins going into Day Fifteen and might be required to beat Daishoho.
Sanyaku for Hatsu 2020
The Sanyaku spots for the Hatsu basho in January 2020 are nowhere near settled. Hakuho and Kakuryu are going to be the Yokozuna. Takakeisho and Goeido will be Ozeki, although Goeido will be kadoban and needs 8 wins. Speaking of Kadoban Ozeki, Takayasu could not last long enough for 8 wins and will drop to the "Ozekiwake" position, a Sekiwake who can return to Ozeki with 10 wins. Tochinoshin was in that spot for Kyushu, but he too was injured and will likely fall back into the Maegashira ranks.
That all makes Sekiwake and Komusubi confusing. Asanoyama has achieved double-digit wins at Komusubi, which makes him assured a Sekiwake slot. Takayasu also gets one. While Mitakeumi and Tochinoshin will drop out of their Sekiwake spots, it's still crowded. Abi has 8 wins, and his third kachi-koshi, at Komusubi. If he gets 9 wins, he has an argument for being a Sekiwake. Endo could still get his kachi-koshi at Komusubi. Daieisho already has 8 wins at Maegashira 1 East, giving him a Komusubi claim. They put four Komusubi in for Kyushu, so they could also do weird things with Sanyaky for Hatsu. They might have to.
K1w Endo, M2e Myogiryu, M4e Tamawashi, M4w Kotoyuki, M6e Onosho, M6w Enho, and M8w Sadanoumi are all on 7-7 going into Senshuraku. Despite those seven men ranging from Komusubi to mid-Maegashira, there was still the possibility of three 7-7 matchups, Endo vs. Kotoyuki, Myogiryu vs. Onosho, and Tamawashi vs. Sadanoumi. Endo and Koyoyuji are 4-4 historically. Myogiryu holds a slight 3-2 advantage over Onosho. Tamawashi has beaten Sadanoumi 9 times out of 11. Enho, the 7-7 holdout from this setup, gets 8-6 Daieisho.
Lower Division Excitement
The Yusho might be over at the top, but the other divisions have some insanity on tap for Day Fifteen. In Jonidan, the second division from the bottom, two wrestlers ended up at a perfect 7-0. So instead of the usual 7 match tournament for lower divisions, Murata and Hokutenkai will have an eighth match to decide the Jonidan yusho. Murata is a 25 year old University sumo wrestler who joined Asanoyama's Takasago stable and entered at Sandanme in 2017. He then suffered an injury in July 2018 and fell all the way to the bottom of sumo's large pyramid. In his comeback tournament last time out, he got the Jonokuchi yusho. Hokutenkai is a 20 year old Mongolian, and nephew of ex-wrestler Takanoiwa, who is in his second full basho. He went 6-1 in Jonokuchi two months ago, where his only loss was to Murata. Now he gets a chance at revenge.
The craziest division for Kyushu is the second from the top, Juryo. Juryo features 6 wrestlers, Azumaryu, Tochiozan, Ikioi, Kaisei, Kiribiyama, and Kotonowaka, at 10 wins. 3 wrestlers, Mitoryu, Kizakiuni, and Kotoshoho, are at 9 wins. The only 10 win square off is Kaisei vs. Kotonowaka. A playoff isn't just likely, but a three way or more playoff seems all but assured.