Special Prize Contenders
Two more days of sumo until September, and the upcoming Aki banzuke promises to be a mad re-shuffle. But before everyone heads off to summer jungyo and awaits their next ranking, the final stanzas of Nagoya will play out. One thing yet to be revealed – the special prize winners. Below are some of my guesses on who could be eligible.
- Tochiozan – He has been on a huge roll this basho, and will finish with at least 10 wins. He has looked calm, strong and confident in every match, especially his crumpling of Ozeki Takayasu.
- Aoiyama – While he has yet to fight anyone in the higher ranks, his 11+ wins for the basho are likely to attract the special prize judges. Even thought I think any final day play off with Hakuho is unlikely and ill advised, he will likely end the basho with the jun-yusho, and for a rank and file Maegashira, that’s a praiseworthy accomplishment.
- Yoshikaze – When Yoshikaze is having a good basho, he is almost always in consideration for another special prize. The guy probably as a whole wall of his apartment with them. He will end with a 9+ win kachi-koshi from the very difficult Komusubi rank.
- Onosho – The kid has the juice, no doubt about that. He has been consistently excellent, and he is headed for the joi-jin in September. The day 14 Yoshikaze / Onosho match result may decide which of them gets a special prize.
- Tochinoshin – From the Maegashira 2 rank, he has defeated a Yokozuna, both Sekiwake and an Ozeki, plus will finish with kachi-koshi. This guy has been competing in spite of some really painful injuries, and this kind of record is a testament to his dedication to recover, and his love of the sport.
Nagoya Leader board
This is Hakuho’s basho to lose. The biggest threat is on the finally day, when he will face Harumafuji in the final match of the basho’s final day.
Leader – Hakuho
Chaser – Aoiyama
Hunt Group – Harumafuji, Tochiozan
2 Matches Remain
What We Are Watching Day 14
Yoshikaze vs Onosho – I do strongly suspect the winner of this match will get the special prize nod. Onosho is going to be in the top 3 Maegashira ranks September, and it’s time to give him a taste of some of the rikishi he will face. A genki Yoshikaze is a great place to start, as he will discombobulate his opponent and then defeat them. Onosho has been quite resilient thus far, so I am keen to see how this goes. This the their first match.
Tochinoshin vs Kotoshogiku – The Kyushu Bulldozer needs to pick up both day 14 and day 15 matches. His record against Tochinoshin os 23-4, so he has history on his side. But Tochinoshin is looking very strong this basho, and it may be down to the big Georgian to end Kotoshogiku’s san’yaku standing.
Tamawashi vs Ura – I am looking for Ura to be in defensive mode, and for this to be a fairly easy win for Tamawashi. I agree and approve of this strategy, as Ura’s make-koshi is a function of his schedule now, and the most important thing to take away from Nagoya now (for Ura) is a body that can be healed enough to compete in the Aki basho in 7 weeks.
Tochiozan vs Mitakeumi – Tochiozan has never beaten Mitakeumi. I am sure Mitakeumi would like to pick up at least one more win in order to punctuate his remaining at the rank of Sekiwake. This match has interest because Mitakeumi’s style is somewhat frantic, while Tochiozan has been very controlled and methodical.
Hakuho vs Goeido – Interesting because Goeido tends to do whacky stuff when he is desperate. And he is quite desperate now. Doing wacky stuff in a match with Hakuho can have unexpected and sometimes amazing results.
Takayasu vs Harumafuji – I expect Harumafuji to handle this without much too much fuss. I would like to see Takayasu at full throttle for this bout (and his Goeido match tomorrow), but he seems injured, stiff and off his sumo.
6 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 14 Preview”
In the back of my mind: if a 7-7 Goeido faces Takayasu on the final day with kadoban status on the line, does Takayasu, who already has his kachi koshi, ease up, in case he needs a favor later?
In the back of my mind: is that how Kaiō rolled from 2007 to 2010, when he got an 8-7 record an eyebrow-raising 14 times out of 24 and was only make-koshi in tournaments for which he was kyūjō?
Kaio rarely needed to rely on the final day for his 7-7’s though. He basically just switched off to avoid any sort of injury once he got to 8 wins. (Which is common for ozeki, but he took it to an artform in his last few years.)
If it makes sense for a playoff bound NFL team (like 15-0 Patriots) to sit their starters for the final game, there is certainly a logic to this strategy. If you’re assured kachi-koshi, what’s the incentive to win on the final day? This is where kenshokin and special prizes come in to play. As an economist, these incentives are one reason why I foam over sumo. I could only imagine what would happen if the NFL added a bonus for a win in those final weeks.
Just think: 9-6 Bengals facing 14-1 Patriots on the final day of the season. At 9-6, the Bengals are on the bubble, but win and they’re in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Patriots are set with home field advantage. Currently, they would sit EVERY SINGLE STARTER. They’d likely play the backups for one quarter or one half, with a 3rd string quarterback leading 3/4 of the game.
Now, the Andrew Martin NFL says, “this crucial regular season game will bring $1 Billion in ad revenue. Half of that will be dispersed to the team that wins with the other half going to the NFL’s retirement fund.” Now, you’re Bill Belicheck. You still may not play Tom Brady for the full game, but with that kind of incentive on the line, his decision-making changes.
IIRC, Ozeki can’t win special prizes. Thus, no incentive.
Err, for his 8-7’s of course.