嘉風:Yoshikaze


Let’s take a quick look at Yoshikaze as we enter 2016:

330px-yoshikaze_08_sep Yoshikaze has been on a tear. He first entered makuuchi division 10 years ago during hatsubasho 2006. Asashoryu was lone yokozuna, Kotooshu was shin-ozeki and a shin-sekiwake named Hakuho started his ozeki run with a dominant defeat over Asashoryu.

Obviously, a lot has happened in those 10 years. But for Yoshikaze, he went 5-10 in that first tournament and until last year mostly bounced around in the maegashira ranks. Even after his komusubi debut in 2014, he was in sanyaku briefly before rejoining the rank-and-filers after a 6-9 tournament.

Three more makekoshi records had him starting 2015 at the rank of M11. In March, his 5-10 record dropped him down to M14. But from there, Yoshikaze has been on fire. He won at least 10 bouts in each of the next three tournaments, going 33-12. If he’d done that at his new sekiwake rank, obviously he’d be shin-ozeki. However, last tournament he squeaked by with an 8-7 record and garnered promotion due to Myogiryu’s dismal November.

So, what are his prospects? I don’t think anyone is really anticipating an ozeki run. His impressive tournaments came against low-ranked opponents sprinkled with legitimate upset victories over Harumafuji and Kakuryu, notably during the tournament that Kakuryu won. However, he’s got an impressive 10-7 record against ozeki opponents going back through 2014. It will be nice to have some stability among the lower rungs of the sanyaku.

I’m hoping that he, Tochiozan, and Tochinoshin perform well enough to at least maintain their ranks for most of the upcoming year. There will likely be some attrition among the ozeki with some demotions/retirements before we see another solid ozeki run. Then again, that’s why they play the game.

勢:Ikioi


Let’s take an in-depth look at Ikioi’s upcoming tournament:

330px-ikioi_in_harubasho_2013_img_1879-2_20130324

Ikioi is back at komusubi after spending all of 2015 among the rank-and-filers. In November 2014 he fought for the first (and only) time at this rank and finished with a less than impressive 6-9 record. He was clobbered for the first half of the tournament, losing 7 of 8 matches against his sanyaku opponents. However, he finished strongly, picking up 5 wins in the final week.

Last year was a yo-yo year, though, as he would have disastrous tournaments when ranked in the upper-maegashira and then great tournaments among the lower ranks. Last tournament, he was able to fight 10 maegashira – defeating all but one. He beat both komusubi and the injured Terunofuji but lost his sekiwake and yokozuna matches, picking up his second special prize in consecutive tournaments.

I hope to see him turn the corner and pick up some wins in this first week. In my mind, he needs 3 wins in week one as that schedule will be rough. He has never beaten any of the yokozuna and he’s a dreadful 4-21 against ozeki. Other than his one win over an injured Terunofuji, he’s had some success against Kotoshogiku by not letting the ozeki get a firm grip and using his agility to pick up three of these wins. He’s only slightly better, 4-19, against sekiwake and 5-11 versus komusubi.

I like Ikioi because he gives 100% effort in every match I’ve seen, thus he’s a great competitor. His lack of success against sanyaku opponents demonstrates he’s got a lot to learn but he does give his competition a run for their money. He’s lost some tight bouts. If he doesn’t get hurt during the first week, he’ll finish with a respectable second week.

*By the way, the Kanji for Ikioi comes from his Isenoumi beya: 伊ノ海。It means ‘momentum’.

初場所2016:番付


Harumafuji, fresh off his first title in more than two years, will lead the makuuchi into 2016 as Yokozuna 1 East. There are no changes among the ozeki since all achieved winning records (barely).

Yoshikaze joins Tochiozan at sekiwake. With two 8-7 tournaments, Tochiozan is basically starting any ozeki run from scratch. He’s losing to too many maegashira. Granted, Toyonoshima, Ichinojo, Oosunaarashi, and Yoshikaze have been strong but ozeki need to win tough match-ups.

Homarenishiki leaps up into the top half of Sandanme division. I’ll continue to watch his progress this year.

http://www.dosukoi.fr/banzuke-du-tournoi/