If there have been two phases to Goeido’s ozeki-dom, no matchup exemplifies the shift better than his record against Yoshikaze (who he faces tomorrow). Upon promotion, Goeido was quite shaky in his performance, only achieving 8 wins thanks to a fusen win on Day 2. His loss to Yoshikaze on Day 3 by komatasukui, fairly demonstrated that there was a long road ahead. Goeido and Yoshikaze had eachother on the edge but neither had the upper body strength to make a throw. When Goeido went for an ill-timed kick, Yoshikaze pushed him over backwards.
Goeido continued to struggle for about a year and a half, going kadoban 3 times and losing to Yoshikaze in each of their next three bouts. During this time, he managed 9 wins one time, generally barely able to manage 8.
However, between January and March of this year, Goeido’s career shifted. He must have conquered his demons because he won 12 matches back home in Osaka, including his first against Yoshikaze in nearly two years. Since, the ozeki has come out on top against Tazzy in each bout. I wonder if there was a change to his training or his upper body strength that helped him over the edge. The key is, can he keep it up? Forget yokozuna-hood. The Goeido of the last 6 months is the ozeki we’ve been expecting.