For a 7th Time, The Ozeki’s Rank Is At Risk
In 2011, Kotoshogiku – a Fukuoka native – was promoted to Ozeki after a series of strong performances as Sekiwake. In the past 5 years, he has turned in a losing record for 6 tournaments, although 3 of them were due to injuries and subsequent withdrawals.
As an Ozeki, he does not surrender his rank with a single losing tournament, but rather two losing tournaments in a row. After the first tournament under 50%, he is labeled “Kadoban” and placed at risk of demotion back to Sekiwake.
During Aki of 2016, I jokingly refereed to Kotoshogiku and Goeido as the “Kadoban Twins” as each of them had been turning in miserable records for a while, and really seemed to be milking the Ozeki rank, rather than excelling. Of course that basho, Goeido found his sumo and dominated every match. Though Kotoshogiku managed to win with a 9-6 record, it is clear the injuries that he has sustained over the years are taking a cumulative toll.
With Kotoshogiku now 32 years old, it may be time for him to accept that the stress of the Sumo life may have reached its logical outcome, and retire while he is still Ozeki. I for one would love to see him healthy, strong and on game once more.
I should mention that at the 2016 Hatsu Basho, we saw Kotoshogiku go 14-1 and win the tournament, so he can still win when he is healthy. But can he gather himself, overcome his injuries and win with authority?
Kotoshogiku’s Prior Kadoban Tournaments
- November 2012 – Kyushu Basho
- January 2014 – Hatsu Basho
- July 2014 – Nagoya Basho
- January 2015 – Hatsu Basho
- July 2016 – Nagoya Basho
- September 2016 – Aki Basho