Kyushu 2019 Day Ten Recap
It's time to take stock of the yusho race with ten days in the books. There is a very clear shape to the fight for the Emperor's Cup, but every wrestler has something to fight for.
Hakuho has decided to hold down the fort, as usual, amid a range of injuries to top rikishi. As always for the Dai-Yokozuna, it's relatively simple. He wins out and he gets the Yusho. And he usually wins, even if he will finish with Endo, Abi, Mitakeumi, and Takakeisho.
Asanoyama is now best positioned to threaten Hakuho. Importantly, he has already lost to Hakuho. On the other hand, he has the easier slate, having already faced everyone ranked above him except Mitakeumi.
On Day Ten, here are the rikishi one win away from Kachi-Koshi. While they all will want more than one win over the last five days, it's an important step. Takakeisho will get to bloody Hakuho, presumably on the final day. But he'll need someone else to do it first, and for Asanoyama to lose again, to have any chance at the Yusho.
Theoretically, everyone else isn't out of it, but these are all rikishi who needed solid basho at the bottom of the Banzuke. They're already in great shape and could even shoot for special prizes with strong closing kicks.
This is a bit of an odd group, leading the huge group hovering around .500. Everyone here has had their good and bad moments. Abi is fighting to stay at Komusubi, and so far seems to even have a shot at Sekiwake depending on everyone else's performance.
The other five rikishi are looking to get a few more wins to shoot well up the Banzuke in January. They've all got the potential to do well even with a jump in difficulty.
The eight rikishi sitting at dead even after 10 days are maybe the one with the most to fight for. Mitakeumi, Daieisho, and Meisei are looking at the possibility of being in Sanyaku or not in January. In the middle of the Banzuke are rikishi whose bashos got tougher with the number of kyujo. These are all wrestlers who could go any direction over the final five days.
Other than Wakatakakage, who is Kyujo, everyone here is looking at a necessary 4-1 record to close out the basho for Kachi-Koshi. The road there is different for all of them. Endo and Hokutofuji, as Komusubi, get easier schedules from here on out. The mid-Maegashira are in a battle royale with each other which is at different stages.
Takayasu is absolutely getting demoted to Sekiwake thanks to his injury. Nishikigi and Daishomaru are really close to being guaranteed of demotion to Juryo unless they pull out absolute miracles.
Tochinoshin will be in Maegashira in January. Kotoshogiku will probably just survive in Makuuchi because of injury and poor performance below him. Daishoho probably has no chance to survive in the top division, because he has guaranteed himself a Make-Koshi.
All four wrestlers at 0 wins are kyujo with pretty serious injuries. Only Kakuryu looks like he might be able to come back to the dohyo in January. Ichinojo is planning on it, but will do so in Juryo if he manages it. Goeido and Tomokaze both had terrible looking injuries.