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    #76
    Re: Goeido-Tochinoshin. Fucking. A. And Mitakeumi is 5-0 too. Jesus this is a great basho.

    Fusen means he's pulled out due to "injury" (some people are claiming it's a toe problem - but really it;s probably a head-not-quite-screwed-on-properly problem). Because the schedule is always out 48 hours in advance, if someone retires from the tournament, their next opponent gets a win by "fusen". By the time of the second day, they can rearrange the schedule so that everyone has an opponent, but they can't on 24 hours notice. It's a walkover, basically.

    I don't know how Kisenosato avoids retirement at this point. Even pulling out of the tournament due to "injury" now won't save him, I don't think.
    Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 18-01-2018, 09:59.

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      #77
      Great to see the new updates here, AG, thank-you. Also, can I just say how wonderfully appropriate (considering it's all about the spectacle of huge men colliding) it looks to see news of the latest basho preceded by the word <bump>...?!

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        #78
        Heh. I didn't actually think of that.

        Day 6 - Kisensato goes kyujo, meaning his tournament record will stand at 1-5-9. The four leaders - Kakuryuu, Mitakaeumi, Tochinoshin and (as in September) Asanoyama from the Maegashira 16 spot - all win to go 6-0.
        Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 19-01-2018, 09:51.

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          #79
          Lot of sympathy for him in the comments under this brief article:
          https://tachiai.org/2018/01/18/yokozuna-kisenosato-withdraws-from-hatsu/

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            #80
            Day 10 is over and a few things of note.

            Inside the Kokugikan, this is now a 2-horse race. Kakuryuu is 10-1, and the Georgian, Tochinoshin, is 9-1 (having lost to Kakuryuu on day 7). Mitakaeumi, who started out really well, has lost 3 straight to now stand at 7-3. I still think Tochisnoshin has a slight edge: He has already fought (and defeated) the two Ozeki (Goeido and Takayasu) while Kakuryuu has fought neither. Although schedules are never published more than a day out, there's no question about who has the easier run-in. Reasonable odds on a playoff, I'd say. And hence reasonable odds this might be the first basho ever won by a white dude.

            Outside the Kokuigan it's a different story. Hakuho released photos of his injured toe (very purple) to show the extent of his injury once people started slagging him off for going kyujo. This kind of PR offensive might seem normal in other sports - it is definitely not in sumo. Also, apparently, Takanohana (now a stable master), who has long been seen as a rallying point for people who think the sport is losing its Japaneseness, has been telling journalists that Hakuho is a point man in match-fixing efforts. We'll see where that goes.

            Finally, in another medium, Ursus has forwarded me a link to this quite remarkable wesbite about sumo collectable cards. Enjoy.

            (correction: there was an Estonian dude who won a basho a few years ago. my bad).
            Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 24-01-2018, 08:57.

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              #81
              White Man Yusho alert. Kakuryuu drops two matches, Tochinoshin wins two and the big Georgian now leads with a ludicrously easy run-in (he faces Ichinojo, who could play a Mongolian Obelix, tomorrow but after that he only has lower-ranked opponents). Kakuryu meanwhile still has to fight Goeido and Takayasu.

              Note: Ichinojo, on his day, can be a complete bastard opponent. This is him today against Yoshikaze.
              Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 25-01-2018, 11:11.

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                #82
                Tochinoshin beats Ichinojo to go 12-1. Mitakeumi *finally* wakes the fuck up after losing five in a row to deal Kauryu a third straight loss ; the latter is now 10-3. Two days left: one Tochinoshin win or one Karkuryu loss on the final weekend and the Georgian takes the yusho.
                Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 26-01-2018, 11:05.

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                  #83
                  So I stopped posting there for a bit - you've all probably seen that Tochinoshin won the last basho and briefly became the world's most-loved Georgian and only the 23rd-ever maegashira-ranked rikishi to win a yusho. The Osaka basho starts tomorrow, though, so a quick re-cap of where we sit.

                  Kisenosato and Hakuho are both kyujo, the former because he has no longer seems to have a left pectoral muscle and the latter ostensibly because of toe injuries but (many think) actually because he doesn't feel like competing until he's fully figured out a new tachiai routine which doesn't involve him slapping people before their head is up. Kakuryu the only Yokozuna in the ring but many think he won't finish (hand injury from last basho), thus leading to the spectre of a "No-kozuna" tournament finish, which hasn't happened in quite some time.

                  In the absence of guys at the top, lots of speculation this might be a big tournament for one of the two Ozeki (Goedo/Takayasu) but neither has been very consistent of late. But it also might be a chance for someone further down the line to win, too. Can Tochinoshin repeat - or at least win the 10 or 11 matches necessary to be considered for promotion to Ozeki? Will the other Sekiwake, Mitakeumi, finally put together two consecutive weeks of good sumo? Might this be Ichinojo's tournament? There is room for a lot of surprises in this tournament.

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                    #84
                    Early days yet (day 3 just ended), but, Ichnojo looks like he could be the dark horse here. 3-0 and looking as dangerous as anyone weighing a quarter-ton can look. Kakuryu also 3-0 but doubts he will last the distance with his hand injury. Some interesting performances down the ranks (especially pleased that Abi, who is easily the happiest-looking rikishi around, is doing very well in his second tournament and could be in the upper maegashira ranks very quickly. Yoshikaze's form continues to deteriorate which is a bit sad.

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                      #85
                      Day 5. Kakuryu is 5-0 after having fought 5 straight chumps - the calendar-makers have been very nice to him so far so this isn't going to last. Also at 5-0 is the normally talentless Brazilian Kaisei and maybe more intriguingly the M4 Shohozan. Ichinojo and Mitakaeumi are both 4-1. Tochinoshin and the two Ozeki are 3-2, all of them looking good today and could still go on a tear.

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                        #86
                        Thanks for the updates here AG, just catching up. Was Tochinoshin handed a tricky couple of opponents among his opening bouts, or was he just suffering some sort of apparent hangover from his great run last time? Winning the 10 or 11 matches necessary for Ozeki promotion consideration must be a tough ask from that position, surely?

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                          #87
                          Tochinoshin is probably going to get 10 wins this basho and that *should* be enough for Ozeki but it'll be tight. I wouldn't have said his first couple of bouts were tricky but you win some, you lose some. He went 2-2, won the next five, and now has lost again. That's still pretty good.

                          OK, so we are now done day 10, and here's how it looks: Y Kakuryuu 10-0, M6 Kaisei 9-1, O Takayasu and K Inchinojo 8-2. My guess is we're going to end up with a playoff at the end of this one, with 2 or more at either 13-2 or 12-3. The main news today was Ichinojo handing Kaisei his first loss in a match where the two wrestlers weighed a combined 420 kilos (seriously, the tachiai was something to behold, two really slow freight trains colliding). And that son of a bitch Goeido henka-ing to beat Tochinoshin. Even his hometown crowd in Osaka, which is usually very pro-Goeido, thought this was a horseshit move. Anyway, both are now 7-3, out of the running unless things go really haywire at the top.

                          Kakuryuu has finished the chump portion of the calendar. In the last five days he has to sequentially fight the five best fighters in the san'yaku: the two Ozeki, the two Sekiwake, and Ichinojo, who he fights tomorrow. Personally, I think Ichinojo will steamroller Kauryuu and then the basho will be wide open. Tochinoshin fights Takayasu: if the man with the hairiest back in sumo can win that one, he'll be 9-2 and it's game on. If not, then it's a three-way fight between Kaisei, Kakuryuu and Ichinojo (assuming the latter wins tomorrow).

                          A lot will depend on how the tournament managers choose to schedule Kaisei. He's far enough down the list that he probably shouldn't have to fight most of the big guys (and there's no chance he'll fight Kakuryuu unless someone gets injured in the meantime). He may be given an easy schedule that lets him stack up a couple of more wins. Would make for the first-ever South American champion.

                          Anyways, lots of sumo to go and the next couple of days are key.

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                            #88
                            Tochinoshin absolutely fucking robbed on a terrible call by the judges. He's now 7-4 and the path to Ozeki is looking a little tricky.

                            Kakuryuu outwits Ichinojo. Kaisei got a bye as his opponent Takakeisho went kyujo. Kakuryuu 11-0, Kaisei 10-1, Takayasu 9-2.

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                              #89
                              Day 12. A pissed-off Tochinoshin smokes Kakuryuu to hand him his first loss (11-1), but Kaisei and Takayasu also both lose. Schedule-makers have decided to make things interesting by giving Kaisei a shot against Kakuryuu tomorrow before he faces off against the two Ozeki (both of whom are 9-3) on Saturday and Sunday. So there's still room for lots of mayhem and a playoff still possibly on the cards.

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                                #90
                                Also, it's been explained to me that even if Tochinoshin gets 11 wins this time out it's almost impossible for him to make Ozeki because too few of his wins in November were against top opponents. The clock starts ticking for him in January, so 14+ 10 or 11 this time out...still probably needs 10 in the next one.

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                                  #91
                                  Day 13. Kaisei vs. Kakuryuu. Kaisei basically falls over in under 2 seconds, worst bout ever. Takayasu beats Goeido. Kakuryu 12-1, Takayasu 10-3. kakuryuu still needs to fight both Ozeki, but one win gives him the yusho.

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                                    #92
                                    Thanks again AG, this is gripping stuff even at such a remove!

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                                      #93
                                      Kakuryu has a couple of 14-1 wins in his career before, wonder if he can match that? I presume his return to form is helping keep the Kisenosato and Hakuhō elephants in the room out of everyone's gaze.
                                      Last edited by Kevin S; 23-03-2018, 12:47.

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                                        #94
                                        Day 14. Only the last two matches mattered. If Takayasu won, and Kakuryuu lost, it would set up a match between the two on the final day which, if Takayasu won, would force an immediate playoff (same situation we had in November with Harumafuji and Goeido).

                                        Takayasu played his part of the script. Absolutely cracking match against Mitakeumi. He looked like a goner at least three times - at one point actually got spun around so he was facing the crowd - but battled back for the win. Superb.

                                        But then Goeido, that useless bastard, surrendered pretty weakly to Kakuryuu. Basho over. Karuyuu (13-1) yusho. Nothing to play for on the Sunday (except for the five rikishi who are 7-7 and need a win for kachikoshi.

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                                          #95
                                          I don;t know if you can call Kakuryuu's performance a "return to form". He never really had form. He's one of the weakest yokozunas in history. He snuck into gaining Ozeki rank, and in the seven years since has put together runs of three consecutive decent performances exactly twice.

                                          The thing is the banzuke is in real turmoil right now. For the system to work well and deliver lots of quality and suspeese, you need got 4 or more guys at the top (ozeki and above) who can consistently put together good performances. Right now, in any given yusho, there's only three (Takayasu, Goeido, and whichever yokozuna happens to be healthy). With fewer heavyweights at the table, people further down the banzuke have a chance to put together better records. But the problem is that outside of those three a lot of the guys who have been regulars over the last 4-5 years are in decline. Terunofuji has diabetes and has dropped out of the top division and Kotoshogiku has had (I think) 4 (5?) losing tournaments in a row- both of those guys were Ozeki a year ago. Yoshikaze seems to have lost the plot and isn't going to come back to the top ranks. Takekaze's now going to bounce between juryo and makuuchi until he retires. Of the guys over 30, Tochinoshin is the only one looking any good but with his bad knee he's never more than one fall away from retirement.

                                          So then you get all the guys in their mid-twenties who are just either not very good or inconsistent. Of these, Ichinojo is the best, then maybe Endo. Mitakeumi if he can ever get his shit together. But that's about it. And then a whole shit-load of rookies like Onosho, Ryuden and Abi, who are going to be dominant in a few years time but for the moment are still very green.

                                          Against this kind of field, even a crap yokozuna can do pretty well. Hakuho, assuming he can get over toe-knack, can probably keep winning tournaments for another 2 maybe 3 years. And then after that we might get a new stable elite. But until then the quality of the bashos might be a bit low.

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                                            #96
                                            So, two things to watch next basho.

                                            1) Takayasu has gone 12-3 and been runner-up in two bashos in a row. If he wins next time (he has never won before) he's Yokozuna for sure. The interesting thing is: if he wins 12 again, do they make him Yokozuna anyway? This has happened before: Futahaguro, in the 1980s, was promoted to yokozuna without ever having won a tournament (based on a 3-basho run of 10, 12 and 14 wins, the last one seeing him lose the yusho on a playoff). Would 12-12-12 do it? 12-12-13? Interesting question, and we may get an answer next time.

                                            2) Tochinoshin finished with a win against soon-to-be-fellow Sekiwake Ichinojo (after Ichinojo literally lifted him up a foot off the dohyo but couldn't quite carry him to the edge) with a 10-5 record. if he wins 10 matches next time, he's guaranteed a ticket to Ozeki (he would I think be the third European to ever hold that rank).
                                            Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 07-04-2018, 01:28.

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                                              #97
                                              So this month's off-basho controversy is a doozy: the sexism inherent in the sport.

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                                                #98
                                                Also: daughter and I have tickets to three days of sumo during the first week of next basho and am out-of-my-mind excited about it.

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                                                  #99
                                                  A Kotoshogiku-like bump for this thread now that the Natsu (May) basho is right around the corner. We're just over a week away from the start of the basho, and for the moment it looks like everyone except Kisenosato is going to start (no word either way on K, but most think it's unlikely). The worry is that both Takayasu and Tochinoshin - the two big promotion candidates - seem to be carrying injuries that may hamper their ability to compete.

                                                  No surprises at all at the top of the banzuke, which was released last Sunday. It's Y - Kikuryuu, Hakuho, Kisenosato, O - Takayasu, Goeido, S - Tochinoshin, Ichinojo, K - Mitakeumi, Endo. Below that, some very big promotions for Abi (now at M2), Yutakayama and Daieisho (at M3), all of whom it's safe to assume are going to get absolutely walloped in this tournament since they will all have to face all 7 of the san'yaku listed above. I love Abi but his sumo is kind of one-dimensional and will get punished at this level.

                                                  Tickets for the entire tournament sold out in minutes. I was very lucky to get floor seats for the first Tuesday, and bleacher seats Thursday and Friday. Will report back with photos.

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                                                    First matches announced. Kisenosato and Takayasu are both kyujo, so the latter's yokozuna run is now done. For lower ranks, kyujo isn't easy because of the loss of rank (not showing up is equivalent to going 0-15 come next banzuke. Yokozunas, on the other hand, can never lose rank so it;s not as big a deal (though obv repeated misses like Kisenosato's are a problem). Ozeki basically get a second life. If they end up with a losing record once (whether through injury or crapness), they go "kadoban", which is like a probationary status, but they keep the ozeki rank. If they go make-koshi a second time (i.e. 7-8 or worse), then they get demoted.

                                                    A bit sad, though. takayasu is one of my daughter's faves.

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