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I started watching Aki 2014. The first basho after Goeido's promotion to Ozeki. I'm heartbroken and all that stuff... although this was the ninth time he's been kadoban, so I can't say I haven't been preparing for this.

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This Tokushoryu thing is nonsense. Speaking of Aki 2014... Ichinojo almost won his debut tournament in Makuuchi. He opened up 8-1 and after that had to take on M3 Yoshikaze, two Ozeki and both active Yokozuna between Days 10 and 14. Tokushoryu is heading into Day 14 without taking anyone on over M8.

This run is an absolute sham. I don't care if he's up against Shodai tomorrow, it should have never even come to this.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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@Death From Above

I missed your thoughts regarding Shodai, so this is a belated response. I missed Shodai's initial rise to the top division, but he has been heralded as an amazingly talented Rikishi. He rose to the top division really fast, and got Sekiwake very early. He seemed to bounce back and forth between narrow kachi- and makekoshi in the upper Maegashira ranks in 2018 and 2019, then he went 3-12 last September. While I fully expected for him to bounce back, I didn't expect a tournament like this from Maegashira #4.

Tokoshoryu is of course as baffling, but anomalies tend to occure in lower ranks. I don't know if there was a lower Yusho winner or if it is even possible since Makuuchi was limited to 42 Rikishi. Both leaders will face off tomorrow, which means one will definetly stay on top. I have to say I'm rooting for Shodai, I agree that Tokoshoryu should have faced at least higher Maegashira or junior sanyaku, at least both Leaders get a direct matchup tomorrow. 

Takakeisho is only one of the pace, although he is dependant on both slipping up at least once. Which means there is only the hope that he will get a Playoff, because of the direct encounter, and he will have to depend on somebody else to help him out. Takakeisho gets Asanoyama tomorrow and Goeido on senshuraku in what will probably be his final Ozeki Match. 

Speaking of Goeido, @John E. Dynamite, I can totally understand your sentiments. Goeido gets a lot of shit, but he had a lenghty run and when it seemed like he was due to drop from the rank, he found incredible strength and tenacity to hold on. He will probably give it a try for ten wins in March, but I can't really see him bounce back. He is going out on his shield, though. That fight against Asanoyama was great Ozeki Sumo (from both men) , he won't be a pushover for anyone in the two final days.

I think the most fun is Enho getting another Kachikoshi when I was certain he would hit the glass ceiling. That little devil makes fantastic use of what he has to work with and turns what should be his opponents biggest advantage into his one quite often. What an emphatic win. We may see him against Kakuryu in March... Good thing for Sumo, what captivating fighter. 

@J.T. Thanks for the praise. I don't know much about the sport yet, even after three years of following closely. But the little I know I gladly share, and with a passion. 

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Kiribayama deserves a small shout out too. First ever top division tournament at 23 years old, sitting at 9-4 and has looked pretty good doing it. Looks like there might be another Mongolian here to cause some damage.

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59 minutes ago, Death From Above said:

Kiribayama deserves a small shout out too. First ever top division tournament at 23 years old, sitting at 9-4 and has looked pretty good doing it. Looks like there might be another Mongolian here to cause some damage.

You'd better make that two Mongolians...

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Agreed. There is a certain guy in Juryo who seems to be on his way back to the top division... It will be interesting to see what Terunofuji will do, he looks a little bit like that strong MFer that overpowered fools at the top of the Card a few years back named... Terunofuji. 

Seriously, if that man truly has recovered, it will be interesting to see how far he can go. He still has a few years ahead of him... 

Also, there is a promising Hoshoryu, Asashoryu's nephew, who seems to be on a slow, but quite steady progress. He is still a pretty lean fighter, but his throwing techniques are quality. 

Seems like a new guard of Mongolians is on the rise. Lots of interesting Japanese young Japanese kids aswell... Transistional period, and a very interesting one at that. 

Edited by ReiseReise

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The Tokoshoryu Yusho became very close to reality, when Shodai, like 4 other Rikishi before him in a row, fell to a tsukiotoshi. Shodai, despite looking to be a getting a grip at point, didn't get a hold of Tokoshoryu, who showed great movement. The result put the rank #17 Maegashira solely into the lead and guarantees him a Playoff in the final day tomorrow. 

In a very rare occurence, the schedule got altered a lot from the usual pattern of putting the two highest ranked rikishi who are still in the tournament (and haven't faced each other yet) against each other. So in a stunning turn of events, in our final match of the tournament, we'll get Takakeisho vs. Tokoshoryu. It might be for the Yusho, depending on Shodai to beat his rival Mitakeumi to keep some pressure on. 

Takakeisho himself dropped out of the race after a great bout with Asanoyama suprisingly going chest to chest, even looking to be winning, but fell victim to a Uwatenage. He can still play spoiler, though. 

Strongest candidate for Sanyaku should be Hokotufuji with 11 wins, who looked like a total ace aside from a three day spell (day 5-7). He will meet 10-4 Yutakayama. Since I expect two Komusubi spots to open up, I see Endo on Komusubi West, despite the slump he experienced after a really hot start. 

Kotoshogiku slowly but surely fizzling out is one of the stories I haven't mentioned yet. His landmark win today (No. 700 in Makuuchi) secured his stay for one more tournament, but despite fighting like a lion, you can clearly tell that there is not much of a path for him left to walk on the way as a rikishi. 

Excited for the final day! 

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Well I'll be damned. Tokoshoryu avoided the Playoff, beating Takakeisho fair, square and convincing, becoming the tied lowest ever Maegashira to win a top division title, the sole lowest in the Six Basho era and the only one ever to do so from the lowest West rank possible. Beating the remaining top ranker and the closest rival to the Yusho makes him deserving of the title, respect to him. 

While naming the sanyaku promotees I totally blanked on Shodai. I guess he will be promoted over Endo, if they don't decide to go with a third Sekiwake or a third Komusubi. Maybe they will put Shodai on Maegashira 1...we will see.

 

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Takakeisho vs. Tokoshoryu was one of the best matches of the whole tournament. What a crazy finish to the show.

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Great story, great drama, but ugh. There is little doubt that Tokushoryu would not have got the yusho from a higher rank.

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Shout out to Asanoyama for being done with Ryuden's bullshit and squashing him like a bug.

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Whatever the hell Enho did to Abi should have got him the technique prize straight up, no questions asked.

Yeah, Tokushoryu might not have done it from five spots higher, but you fight the guys they put in front of you. He beat five guys who finished with ten or more wins, including Takakeisho who is no chump. Last person to beat so many 10+ win guys on the way to a cup (I didn't bother checking everyone, but I'm assuming you don't get to beat five 10+ winners in a basho without winning,) was actually Goeido in his Nagoya zensho yusho. Congratulations to Tokushoryu on the win.

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22 hours ago, Death From Above said:

Shout out to Asanoyama for being done with Ryuden's bullshit and squashing him like a bug.

He really wanted to keep those hopes of Ozeki alive. With the upper-echolon crisis we are having, 11 in March could suffice, maybe. 

@John E. DynamiteI'm pretty sure Tokoshoryu will be somewhere between rank 1 and 3 in Osaka, so he will experience the meatgrinder that is Makuuchi joi. I agree that him having luck with the scheduling played a big part, but in the end he did beat those who were in the race aswell as many guys with strong performances, as pointed out by @DangerMark

It's going to be extremely interesting to see if & how the Yokozuna come back. We will witness a lot of uncommon phenomena in March, most prominent one will be Kakuryu (most likely) as "YokozunaOzeki", Yokozuna in rank, but listed as Ozeki on the ranking chart to counteract the imbalance caused by the lack of a second Ozeki. This is the first time since January 1982 that this little cosmetic trick is necessary to balance out the upper ranks. 

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Breaking news, as Goeido decided to call it quits today. He will end a 15 year career, with the highlight being his zensho in September 2016. He is not the most popular rikishi around here, but hats off to a 5-year-plus Ozeki spell, which followed a record 14 tournaments at Sekiwake in a row. His decision deserves respect aswell, if you consider how many Rikishi cling on for way too long. 

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18 hours ago, ReiseReise said:

Breaking news, as Goeido decided to call it quits today. He will end a 15 year career, with the highlight being his zensho in September 2016. He is not the most popular rikishi around here, but hats off to a 5-year-plus Ozeki spell, which followed a record 14 tournaments at Sekiwake in a row. His decision deserves respect aswell, if you consider how many Rikishi cling on for way too long. 

And just what are you trying to say about my man Kotoshogiku?!

In seriousness, I feel for Goeido. It felt like he was always Kadoban for the last few years. His records were only rarely impressive, with the weird statistical anomaly of only reaching over 12 wins a single time (his Zensho Yusho). But then, you have to consider that his time at the top was shared with the ascent of the Mongolian Yokozuna, and that when he wasn't fighting them he was fighting the absolute best of the best. His average records spoke to something tragic- that this was the peak of his ability, that Ozeki was his highest possible rank, and that as a yokozuna the demands for his retirement would have followed basically immediately. Better to be a long lasting ozeki than a short-lived yokozuna. So now demoted, and faced with the difficult 10-5 task going into his home territory, I understand completely why he'd call it a career.

The retirement of Goeido also really cements that we are about to live through a complete changing of the guard. The odds that Hakuho and Kakuryu wrestle into 2021 are zero: Hakuho intends to retire after the Olympics, and who can say what Kakuryu's future holds given his last three tournaments ending in kyujo. Makuuchi is going to look very different by the time winter rolls around again.

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I actually thought about Aminishiki especially, who stuck around forever while looking to be incapable of anything. 

Kotoshogiku is not as good as he once was, but his way of phasing out is highly entertaining. He seems to leave everything on the dohyo. I'm not sure if he'll make it past 2020 though. 

You're definetly right, Makuuchi is going to look very different by the end of 2020. Some "mainstays" are still quite young and Takakeisho seems relatively stable, but we'll have to wait and see. 

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I hope Kakuryu has one big run left in him because now that I'm in on this sport I want to see what he can really do. Like, obviously Hakuho is going to get most of the press because just look at his record, but Kakuryu has still managed 6 tournament wins in The Hakuho Era which has to say something. He did miss two tournaments at the end of 2017 (and pulled out of the two before that!) then won twice in 2018 so maybe he's still got at least one more in there. I kind of expect both Yokozuna to be all-in on doing something before the Olympics if at all physically possible.

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Kakuryu looked really good in his Double Yusho run March / May in 2018, aswell as in Nagoya last year, I thought. He just seems in a really bad slump since his stable Master died during Aki 2019 and has not made it past the midway point of all three Basho following since then. It almost seems as if his spirit is broken, which is so sad and makes me feel for the poor man. 

Hakuho will probably manage his health, I suspect him to Double down on the Olympics plan. He'll show up and Finish in Osaka, drop out of Tokyo's May tournament and put all his efforts into finishing Nagoya to get the role he lobbied for in the Olympics. I hope that he gets to do a dohyo iri, so far he has only been selected as a torch bearer (which is cool, but not quite the same as the big, featured Yokozuna entrance). 

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This sounds like one of those super annoying injuries where you have to let it heal 100% before you can do anything.

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That Endo throw was with immense authority, I 100% buy it as being the cause for severe injury, especially the way Hakuho's injuries were described. A dumb fall is all it takes... interesting to see what he will do in Osaka... Hope he gets well, I really want to see as much from him as possible for as long as he sticks around. 

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In case people aren't keeping track of stuff on Twitter, Natto Sumo, the main uploader we all probably watch on youtube, has had 2 copyright strikes put on him after he tried to monetize the last basho (which... yeah, no shit guy). Anyway he's started a backup Youtube you should probably follow because it's likely to be where the March tournament goes. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCErxT8KRQi3JJEwMCDrcHBg

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