Yokozuna Kisenosato Remains Doubtful For Aki

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Yokozuna Kisenosato is continuing to struggle to make himself ready for the upcoming Aki basho, based on reports in the Japanese sumo press. He continues to train with lower ranked rikishi at the Tagonoura stable, but has yet to take training with his normal sparring partner, Ozeki Takayasu. His focus continues to be on ensuring range of motion and some strength exercises for his injured left upper and lower body.

With less than two weeks to go, the fact that he is not actively in matches as part of his training is indicative of a rikishi who is not yet healed enough to complete. While he did some limited training during the jungyo PR tour, he did not actually appear to attempt any actual training bouts.

As we surmised in the Tachiai Aki Banzuke Podcast, we think that he may not even start the basho, and should probably sit out the fall tournament in hopes of returning strong for Kyushu.

Aki Story 1 – Yoshikaze, 35 Year Old Sekiwake

Yoshikaze

Readers of the site know that I am a huge fan of Yoshikaze. I sometimes refer to him a “The Berserker”, out of deference to the norse warriors who would throw themselves into battle with no regard for their safety or survival. As a result, Yoshikaze frequently ends a basho with his face a bloody mess, and has at least once been hospitalized for his injuries.

After two tournaments with winning records at Komusubi, Yoshikaze now finds himself at the rank of Sekiwake. This is not his first time at this rank, having held it for the first two basho for 2016. What makes his current posting unique is his age. Yoshikaze is now 35 years old. I have been trying plumb the depths of sumodb to see how many rikishi have been able to rank at Sekiwake at 35 or above, but I would assume that the number is small.

From all reports, Yoshikaze is taking it all in stride, and even joked that he could in fact become the oldest rikishi ever promoted to Ozeki. While I don’t think anyone expects that, it would be a wonderful thing to see.

We look forward to Yoshikaze’s return to the Sekiwake rank, and his tour through a banged-up San’yaku.

Aki Banzuke Podcast

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Sadly, Audio Only…

I must confess that your humble associate editor fouled up the podcast recording, and failed to set the system to capture Andy’s lovely face.  So you would have had 43 minutes of my mug, reacting to everything you could not see Andy saying. So the podcast for the Aki banzuke is audio only.

It’s on the long side, but we finish with discussing a possible match between Wakaichro and objects in excess of 600 pounds….

The podcast is also on YouTube, but it is audio only as well. I will gamberize for our next session.

It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future

I knew that the Aki banzuke would be harder to predict than Nagoya, and so it proved. I got the big picture right, but missed many of the details, although in my defense, some of the committee decisions are real head-scratchers.

The upper San’yaku went exactly as predicted, with all 7 Yokozuna and Ozeki ranks matching the forecast. No surprise there. Mitakeumi at East Sekiwake was also an easy correct prediction. Slightly more challenging, I correctly forecast Yoshikaze to claim the West Sekiwake slot. Also as predicted, Tamawashi and Tochiozan got the Komusubi slots, though on the opposite sides from my forecast.

Overall, my San’yaku forecast resulted in 9 bulls-eyes and 2 hits in 11 predictions, or 20 out of 22 possible GTB points. The maegashira forecast was much less accurate.

I correctly predicted the members of the joi-jin (aka the meat grinder) at M1e-M4e. The exact ranks here were also right on target, except that I had Aoiyama at M1 and Kotoshogiku at M2, the opposite of the actual banzuke. I know Kotoshogiku deserves a lot of deference for his career achievements, but by my ranking system, Aoiyama was so far ahead of him that I couldn’t justify making that switch.

Further down, I’m only slightly surprised to see Ura at M4w ahead of Shodai and Takakeisho. Indeed, I had this order right in my immediate post-Nagoya forecast, but talked myself out of it. As Bruce also notes, Ura could have used a lighter schedule after Nagoya.

In the lower maegashira ranks, my misses were by one rank and among groups of rikishi with identical computed ranks. These are always pretty arbitrary. One surprise to me is Ishiura ranked below Arawashi, especially as this decision also inexplicably splits and assigns different ranks to Arawashi and Takekaze, who put up identical performances at the same rank at Nagoya. The other surprise is seeing Tokushoryu at M15e. My forecast had him demoted to Juryo in favor of Myogiryu. I would not have been surprised to see him hang on to Makuuchi at M16, but M15 seems ridiculously generous.

Overall, my maegashira forecast resulted in 11 bulls-eyes and 4 hits in in 31 predictions, for a total of 26 out of 62 possible GTB points. Yeah, not great. I’ll take some comfort in the fact that 15 of my 16 misses were by one rank, with the aforementioned Tokushoryu the only exception. So if you wanted to get a good general idea of where your favorite rikishi would be ranked, the forecast served its function. If you wanted to know the exact rank…well, see the title of this post.