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As @Brian Fowler pointed out in the "interesting Sports" threas, Sumo seems to be interesting enough to warrant its own thread. Us fans pretty much hijacked the thread during the last Basho. Of course, there are roughly six to eight week intervalls of more or less silence, but things get very crowded during the tournaments themselves. Therefore I agree that Sumo needs its own thread. 

Goals for this thread

I would really like this thread to host a lively discussion during the big tournaments in Japan (January, March, May, July, September and November). There seem to be quite a few people who watch the matches on the different outlets and are interested in talking about results, crazy events, techniques. It would be cool to have this in here. 

Additionally and if some are interested, we can turn this into a thread were we talk about your own Individual fandom, Rikishi from the past, the sport's history and such. I have only scratched the surface on this wonderful (more than just a) sport, and I could imagine I'm not alone. It might be a good idea to gather Information, questions and such within this thread. I will add a few links which are good if you wish to follow Sumo, feel free to add whatever you know / like to have added. 

Last but not at all least, there are tons of funny, interesting and spectacular pictures out there with Rikishi and their various activities on and off the dohyo. Those can be collected / posted in here. 

I'd be very happy for everyone who'd like to join me in my quest to follow and understand Sumo better than I do now. Also, feel encouraged to add wishes, ideas and everything YOU want from this thread. I'm looking forward to discussing the Osaka basho in March 2019. Let's gambarize together!

 

Weblinks

Official Kiyokai Website (with English Option) : http://sumo.or.jp

English Language Sumo Forum: http://www.sumoforum.net/forums/

Tachiai Sumo Blog: https://tachiai.org

Sumo-Database (during Basho SPOILER ALERT): http://sumodb.sumogames.de

Youtube Channels

Chris Gould - insights, interview translations and statistics: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCIk5AQ47TYq8PQRoeM47LqQ

Kintamayama - previews, reviews, digests of Makuuchi bouts: https://m.youtube.com/user/Kintamayama

Natto Sumo - digest of Makuuchi matchdays: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCzZ8v5JF3IyxLWOCGKpcP0g

Jason's All Sumo Channel: https://m.youtube.com/user/JasonsinJapan

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The Banzuke for Haru Basho (starting on March 10th) has been released. Hokutofuji gets his well-deserved sanyaku debute at Komusubi. He had a few close calls in the past before an injury setback, happy to see him in the named ranks at once. 

There was SOME minor shifting within the Yokozuna and Ozeki ranks. Kisenosato's retirement, aswell as Hakuho's ten wins, meant that the greatest rikishi of all time takes the highest possible rank as Yokozuna #1 East. Ozeki Tochinoshin - despite 5 losses and no wins - has been "promoted" to the eastside. He was put at Ozeki #2 West since his promotion despite their being no Ozeki #2 East, simply to counteract the Yokozuna #2 East. Banzuke balance is a serious thing. 

There are five promotees in the top division: Terutsuyoshi, Daishosho, Ishiura, Tomokaze and Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima is the odd men out in this group, returning to Sumo's top flight after two and a half years of absence. He had sat out two completely tournaments in 2016 because of injury and got relegated all the way down to Makushita (the third division). A great comeback story most definetly. 

Terutsuyoshi might be your new favourite wrestler: standing at only 1,69 m and 112 kg he will look like a child compared to many of his opponents. He will have to rely on speed and technique and should be exciting to watch, no matter if he wins or looses. 

Tomokaze is another nice story. Up until the last tournament, he was tsukebito (man servant) to fan favourite Yoshikaze. It is highly out of the ordinary to still do tsukebito duties after you get promoted to Juryo (second division, salaried ranks). I don't even think it is possible when both rikishi are in Makuuchi. Tomokaze stated, that he felt that he could still learn a lot from his senior. Now they are banzuke neighbours: Yoshikaze is listed at Maegashira #12 West, Tomokaze at #13 East. 

Ishiura is another lighter wrestler, packing lots of muscle on a smaller, 1,73 m frame. He is Hakuho's stable mate. And has been to Makuuchi a few times, albeit not being able to gain a proper foothold in the top division. He has a trademark submarine tachiai, trying to get underneath his opponents and iniating throws from there. He also goes for henka (sidestep) regularly. It will be interesting to see how he fares, his läßt Makuuchi Kachikoshi was in January 2018.

Daishoho is the new Mongolian prospect. I don't know much about him, but he converted his second stay in Juryo into a seven basho Kachikoshi run. The last five of those being minimum 8-7s. He seems to be using Yorikiri a lot (also, most of his losses came via Yorikiri), the official page lists him as a belt Wrestler aswell. I'm curious to see him compete. 

That's quite a lot of info, but not nearly all of course. You can check out the banzuke for March 2019 here:

http://sumo.or.jp/EnHonbashoBanzuke/index/

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Daishoho has had three Makuuchi opponents in the last two tournaments and has won two of them.

The big news - although we already knew this - is that Takakeisho was gypped out of an Ozeki promotion. Ten wins should see him go up this time, it'll be interesting to see what happens if he gets 9.

Tochinoshin is Kadoban: if he doesn't get his Kachikoshi, he's going down. Goeido is not Kadoban, after getting day 14 off last time out (a fusensho win over Hakuho,) before going in fresh to beat Takakeisho. Full disclosure, Goeido is my second least favourite wrestler, ahead of only Ichinojo.

I'll keep an eye out for Terutsuyoshi, I do like the tiny guys. I'm still hoping for Abi to add a little depth to his game, so he's not so screwed if the pushing attacks fail.

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2 hours ago, DangerMark said:

Daishoho has had three Makuuchi opponents in last two tournaments and had won two of them. 

[...] 

I'm still hoping for Abi to add a little depth to his game, so he's not so screwed if the pushing attacks fail.

Ah, totally missed that fact. Thanks! 

You and me both. From the regional Tour records it actually seems as if Abi puts lots of emphasize on Yotsu (Belt) Sumo in training. So he - at the very least - is putting in effort. 

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Never seen all 4 sanyaku so primed to kill. If this basho plays out the way I hope it does it'll be all about them.

Endo has makekoshi'd 10 out of 11 times when ranked above M5. His one kachikoshi was at M1, and it was only a year ago. So we'll see how that goes

 

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Chris Gould produces insane quality-content. Here he is talking about the special prizes handed out at the end of the bashos. 

 

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1 hour ago, ReiseReise said:

Ah, totally missed that fact. Thanks! 

No worries. I just had a quick look at his records, because the top handful of Juryo wrestlers do tend to get a few bouts against the bottom handful of Maegashira wrestlers. 

 

54 minutes ago, John E. Dynamite said:

Never seen all 4 sanyaku so primed to kill.

Confusingly, Sanyaku means "top three ranks," with Yokozuna tacked on as an extra Rank Zero above Ozeki. I take it you mean the four lower Sanyaku? I really worry about Mitakeumi's knee. He came back for his Kachi Koshi last time out, but at what cost?

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Some training impressions, which are always to be taken with a grain of salt. The rikishi tend to train at home mostly, rarely going all out to prevent injuries on themselves, aswell as their Stable mates. Quite a few of the wrestlers go out of their own heya to try to improve. Here is what I gathered, mostly through Sumo-Forum:

- Both Mongolian Yokozunae have begun training, but so far there are no reports about any actual sumo. So far it seems to be about building power and muscles. Kakuryu stated that he is free of pain, Hakuho already declared his Intentions of entering the Haru Basho and being a "hindrance" to Takakeisho. 

- Old habits die slowly, Takayasu trained with former stablemate Araiso Oyakata, better known for most of us as (former) Kisenosato. As said, old habits... Takayasu went 8-12 against his old senpai, which seemed to be par of the course even in the final days of Kisenosato's career. Even Takayasu's statements seemed as if nothing had changed:

"His power is the same as when he was active. He's heavy and he knows his sumo, so he's strong." 

- Slow news on big Georgian Ozeki Tochinoshin, who is kadoban for the second time out in five tournaments in Sumo's second highest rank. He planned on doing real keiko today, but no word has come out so far on how it went. The man himself stated that he didn't train much before arriving in Osaka. Timid words for what seems to be a dire situation. 

- Takakeisho has been looking really good so far. He seems back at 100% from his foot injury, dominating visitor Ichinojo. He himself is cited as calling his own condition as "great", he also seems well-aware of what's at stake. 

- Tamawashi took a few days of rest, but seems happy with his state of Body and mind. He intends to start some real practice tomorrow, on the 28th.

As said before, training doesn't mean too much. Goeido, who underperforms on a regular base, is known as "King of keiko", winning most of his bouts even against other high-rankers. Mitakeumi is losing to everyone, earning abysmal records, yet does mostly well in Bashos. Still, I like to get hyped for the tournaments. I will keep updating when I catch newsworthy stuff. 

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Mitakeumi doesn't seem to hopeful. His knee is still bothering him, he hasn't trained properly. He will probably enter (not a smart thing), but it might be a career jepoardizing move. Terunofuji is the worst example regarding knee trouble, he fell quickly after those gave out on him. 

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If Mitakeumi's knee is still bothering him, then he's a bloody idiot if he wants to compete.

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Unfortunately, being at least very thick-headed is par of the course for most rikishi. Look at Kisenosato who even had the option to go for surgery and and rebuilding, but decided to keep on going for start-stop-tournaments while hoping for the detached pectorial muscle to magically heal itself. ((Of course I'm oversimplyfying, but injury treatment still is horrible in Pro Sumo)) 

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The bouts of the first two days of the basho have been posted. So far, the only top division withdrawal is unlucky Chiyonokuni, who got injured badly during Hatsu Basho while contending even for the championship. He will likely score an 0-0-15 and drop from Maegashira #12 to Juryo (second division). This also means we will have Juryo visitors to Makuuchi barring any further withdrawal. 

Hatsu Champion Tamawashi meets Nishigiki, Takakeisho starts off against Myogiryu. Tochinoshin begins his quest for eight wins against Daieisho, Takayasu vs Kaisei and Goeido will try and fend off Endo's challenge. Mitakeumi's knee takes a stress-test against Yokozuna Kakuryu, while Hakuho welcomes Hokotufuji to sanyaku. Of course, those matches are pretty much a consequence of how the Rikishi are ranking. Still, it makes up for a spectacular tournament start. 

Is is the last tournament of the current emperor's reign (Heisei era), which gives it added meaning. I expect Hakuho to be on top of his game from what I read about the training, so whoever wants to challenge for a yusho needs to challenge him. It would be nice for the usual suspects to not drop Ls early on (looking at Takayasu here!). Only two more days of waiting! 

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HELL YEAH IT SUMO TIME

-Good to see Ishiura back. The small skill guys like him are always a delight. It's a one bout sample but it looks like his defense has improved considerably.

-I swear, Ikioi could show up at one basho with tape on every limb and will still get at least 5.

-KAKURYU: STOP PULLING. STOP IT.

Overall I didn't find a lot to gleam: everyone expected to be in the hunt looks like they're in good form, a lot of the new guys got the "Welcome to Makuuchi" treatment, nothing out of the ordinary. Still, extremely excited for the tournament.

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Ikioi is just inspiring. That guy looks so banged up, but always shows up and is willing to leave it all on the dohyo. 

Tochinoshin looked really shaky but collected a rare tsukiotoshi win. Seven more to keep his rank, but he seems to have bad wheels.

Mitakeumi continued where he left off, collecting yet another win over a Yokozuna. Was the hurt knee fake news? Only time will tell, or maybe his match against Takayasu on Day 2. I guess, Kakuryu is the next on intai watch. He's losing a lot, and he is losing early. Kakuryu v Kaisei on Day 2, Kaisei has never beaten a Yokozuna... maybe now? 

Takakeisho started well, as his powerful self. Tamawashi aswell. Hakuho was not really threatened by Hokotufuji, who normally provides more trouble for the big dog. From little we could see, Hakuho seemed way more Stable in his legs than during most of Hatsu. No need calling the next zensho yet, though. 

Pumped aswell! 

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Tochinoshin's troubled are real, as today showed. He can't seem to muster any resistance whatsoever and gets pushed back with ease. Bad signs. 

In a long match with lots of technical details, Takayasu prevailed over Mitakeumi. Both men looked good. 

Takakeisho is 2-0, but will face Mitakeumi tomorrow. Tough matchup for the Chiganoura youngster, who has lost four in a row against Mitakeumi. 

Kakuryu showed that he still has amazing technique against Kaisei, pushing their head to head to 13-0. Hakuho will try to achieve the same against The Big Brazilian tomorrow. The GOAT was in charge against a spirited Endo today. 

Last but not least I will mention Goeido. Much to @DangerMark's dismay (I assume) his weird strategy of provoking a false start, followed by only touching down with one Hand and then bullrushing the opponent, seems to be working so far. 

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@ReiseReise is entirely correct, I am dismayed that Goeido is a total sleaze. I hope someone gives him a nudge next time on the false start; and by "nudge,"  I mean a good ol' forearm blast.

Tochinoshin went up at the start; Myogiryu got underneath him and walked through. Tochinoshin just had nothing once Myogiryu got in there. Endo looks like he came close, but Hakuho didn't over-commit when they seperated; which is how Hakuho and Takayasu can spin away, but the Endos of the world can't get away with that.

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I hate to keep bringing it up, but Goeido looks really good so far, leading the pack together with Hakuho, Ichinojo, Kotoshogiku and Ishiura. So far he had only beaten wrestlers he is expected to beat, but since he is Goeido he is not expected to beat them per sé, so beating them means he is surprisingly good on track. Confusing, I know.

Hakuho is looking better than in January, but had a minor scare today when he ended up in the third row after winning his match at the tawara and seemed slow to get back up. Of course he, too, is only beating opponents he is suspected to beat thus far. 

There are also quite a lot of rikishi with 3-1 scores. Mitakeumi and Takayasu have looked good, but Takayasu had an inexplicable lapse against Daiesho yesterday, which might already have been enough to fall out of contention. Mitakeumi lost to Takayasu (while still looking strong), but he beat a Yokozuna and both Sekiwake already. Out of the upper echolon, he has Hakuho, Goeido and Tochinoshin left. Tochinoshin in his current condition is not that tough of a matchup, so he could very well exit the tough matchups with a 4-3. Maybe even better? Kakuryu bounced back from his opening loss to Mitakeumi, but he still seems shaky. It will be interesting see if he can prevent early losses from now on and see the tournament through.

Takakeisho was once again beaten by Mitakeumi (who has won their last five encounters now), but bounced back. At 3-1 his tournament can still go either way, but it's off to a good start. 

Finally, if you are interested in up and comers, check out today's visitor from Juryo, Enho. He is very small and Light, but fights like a lion and pulls out incredible tricks and escapes. Even in losing efforts, he is so much fun to watch. 

 

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I am totally here for a Kotoshogiku revival. He looks like he's in tremendous shape this basho so I have high hopes, although not necessarily championship hopes. I just like to see my guy doin' well.

Also, Hakuho almost bringing the Slap & Elbow back is an interesting development, especially against a lower tier opponent that he still almost lost to. I wonder if Hakuho's playing for winning records now just to make it to the olympics like he's stated he wants to. Otherwise it's just a hell of a reflex that he might just occasionally bring back that particular tachi-ai

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I came in to talk about how good Goeido and Giku look (as well as friggin' Ishiura of all people) but it looks like that's been taken care of. Is there still room left for negativity? Endo in the M1 meat grinder is like comfort sumo to me now. My boy Hokutofuji just isn't looking like it so far, and I have a hard time watching Shodai when he's like this. Tamawashi turning back into a pumpkin was always going to happen, and despite a great win I've got a bad hunch about Tochinoshin.

This physically declined but incredibly crafty version of Hakuho is fascinating to watch. We should enjoy it while we can, he's only finished three of his last nine basho, and still managed to win two of them. That's crazy to me.

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Posted (edited)

Terutsuyoshi is hella fun; glad he finally got a win yesterday. Tochinoshin looks like he might just be able to Ichinojo his way to 8-7, but it's far from guaranteed. No way he's getting more than that. Speaking of Ichinojo, he pulled off a throw on Day 4. Check outside that pigs aren't flying in your area. Takayasu's Day 3 loss was just weird. I guess he switches off sometimes? I don't know. It's frustrating, because I like the hairy grump. Next day he comes out like he's an ozeki or something.

Hakuho can do pretty much whatever he wants at this point. Chill in the crowd after a win? Sure. Both Yokozuna are extremely technically sound, and know full well that the match isn't over until they say it is.

Goeido is still a sleaze. I watch all this on Jason's youtube channel; the highlights package doesn't show any false starts, but he's baited at least two of his opponents in them (thanks for pointing that out,) and I am going to be very sad when he rides this sleaziness all the way to a Cup.

Edited by DangerMark
Forgot to mention that Goeido is a Sleaze.

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Goeido threw down Shodai with authority today. But well, it was only Shodai, whose performance has been disheartening so far. Didn't see any baiting false starts this time. 

Takakeisho's Ozeki-aspirations experienced a major setback against Tamawashi. Two losses within the first five days have me worried a little, quite the uphill climb. 

Takayasu looked strong again, leaving me scratching my head as to how he dropped the L against Daeisho. Tochinoshin showed that it might be a little early to call him a Sekiwake yet, overcoming Kaisei in convincing fashion. Still five out off ten for the big Georgian. 

Flawless so far are Hakuho, Goeido, Ichinojo and Kotoshogiku. It will be interesting to see who drops out of the group. Kotoshogiku has the toughest matchup tomorrow, facing Aoiyama (4-1). Ichinojo gets Endo, Goeido vs Daeisho. Hakuho gets poor 0-5 Nishigiki, so he is even a heavier favourite than usual. 

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Everybody I criticized won, except for Shodai (who looks awful).

At the end of the 2016 March Basho, our current four undefeated were Hakuho at 14-1 (Yusho), Goeido at 12-3, Ichinojo at 11-4, and Kotoshogiku at 8-7, coming right after his Japanese drought-breaking Yusho in January. Definitely getting time machine vibes.

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Kakuryu won today by pulling, and it made me feel like some kind of awful Groundhog's Day where now that it's finally worked it's another five years of Kakuryu pulling against thrusters and getting launched off the dohyo. Godspeed, Kakuryu.

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Kakuryu's "WELP, I got away with that one" face made it all worth it.

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