Injured, Defeated, Demoted
Former Ozeki Kotoshogiku has been a concern of ours for several tournaments. His injuries are chronic and their impact icreasing. In fact he can seldom muster the strength to really contend at a sanyaku level at times, let alone perform his duties as an Ozeki.
During Hatsu, Kotoshogiku was the sad spot to every day. Here is a great rikishi, although he is kind of a one tactic guy, he does it better than anyone, and he won and won and won with it for a long time.
In fact, it was last year at the 2016 Hatsu basho that Kotoshogiku broke the unending string of Mongolian Yusho winners when he took the Emperor’s cup going 14-1. In the year that followed, his injuries plagued him, and his performance suffered. He turned in a weak showing for Haru/Osaka 2016 (Andy might say had a foul ordor), a strong showing for May and then sat out most of Nagano after going 1-6 to start. His record in Kyushu was 5-10, which made him Kadoban once again, and he repeated at Hatsu going 5-10, securing his removal from the Ozeki rank.
Now he heads back to Osaka as one of a crowded Sekiwake field. His goal will be to secure 10 wins and return to Ozeki, but frankly there are only 2 paths to that achievement. 1. Medical treatment. He could undergo treatment for the problems in his hips and knees, of there is anything left to save. Though it is doubtful that he could be healed by early March. 2. A lot of people do very big favors for him by making sure he wins matches that he might otherwise lose.
There has been some speculation among sumo fans that Kotoshogiku will retire before then. He has a Kabu, and secured a place in the senior ranks of the sumo business once he leaves the dohyo. But thus far he has made no announcement. Other fans (myself included) believe he will give it a try, and go down fighting.