Who needs to wait for the official banzuke when you have the crystal ball? After a somewhat cloudy performance for Aki, the forecast did well for Kyushu. The upper ranks were pretty straightforward based on Aki performances and absences, and I called all 11 slots correctly.
Among the more difficult to predict maegashira ranks, there were also no major surprises or deviations from the forecast. It’s a slight surprise to see Takakeisho jump over Chiyotairyu for the M1 slot, though they were essentially tied given their 9-6 and 8-7 records at M5 and M3, respectively. Tochinoshin seems slightly over-ranked, but the few other switches are all by one rank or half a rank and involve rikishi with identical predicted ranks. The biggest miss was Ura, whom I placed at M14 based on similar past cases, but whom the numbers would have placed at M16, where he indeed ended up on the official banzuke.
Correct rank but missed the side: Shohozan, Hokutofuji, Kaisei, Kagayaki.
Missed by one rank: Takakeisho, Chiyotairyu, Tochinoshin, Daishomaru, Daieisho, Ikioi, Okinoumi, Takekaze.
Missed by two ranks: Daiamami, Ura.
The bottom line: all 11 San’yaku slots predicted correctly; 21 of the 31 Maegashira ranks predicted correctly, and for 17 of these, that includes the correct East/West side (this corresponds to a respectable 60 points in the Guess The Banzuke game).
Now appearing on the NSK web site, the official banzuke for the Kyushu basho, starting two weeks from today. Some notable elements include Terunofuji as Sekiwake 2E (“Ozekiwake”), Mitakeumi holds fast at Sekiwake 1E, Kotoshogiku returns to San’yaku in the Komusubi 1E slot, Onosho has his first try at San’yaku, and Takakeisho is at Maegashira 1.
Further down the banzuke, we have Aminishiki (aka Uncle Sumo) back in Makuuchi, Asanoyama levitating to Maegashira 11, and Ura still listed at Maegashira 16, even though I would be surprised if he shows up.
The story in Juryo is pretty interesting, Egyptian Osunaarashi somehow manages to hang onto a Juryo slot and is posted to Juryo 13, followed by Takagenji and Yao. Meanwhile Ishiura is ejected from Makuuchi, and appears as Juryo 1.
Meanwhile, as predicted, the Texas sumotori Wakaichiro is confirmed as promoted to Sandanme 85, and will fight at his highest rank ever.
Again, our forecast expert scored many direct hits in his banzuke forecast, and fans should feel free to compare them side by side. Hats off to lksumo!
The crew will likely have our banzuke podcast up before long, be ready!
The event at Fukuyama has been the last of the Aki Jungyo, and now the (about) 160 participating rikishi are heading straight to Fukuoka, where they’ll join the waiting low division rikishi who were busy preparing lodgings and equipment for the past week or so.
The Jungyo day itself started with heavy rain, carried over by the most recent typhoon. Despite the rain, the local fans filled the venue:
They got to see some very energetic practices, including Hakuho doing both reverse and straight butsukari (and getting pushed off the dohyo, much to his embarrassment).
All Yokozuna were eager to leave a strong impression, and made statements to the press either yesterday or today.
In yesterday’s practice session, Harumafuji was working on his Tachiai with Chiyoshoma, launching himself at his fellow Mongolian partner 11 times. The next one was so powerful, Chiyoshoma was blown away and nearly fell off the dohyo.
But Harumafuji doesn’t like to see people hurt, so he grabbed Chiyoshoma by the arm before he started to take off, and made sure he stayed put.
“Just practicing the basics,” said the Yokozuna.
Nobody can overlook the fact that the Yusho winner, although he clocked in every day, did not participate in the bouts and did very little on-dohyo practice during the Jungyo. “I’m concentrating on the Kyushu basho,” was the Yokozuna’s response.
“Yes, of course I’ll fully participate,” answered Kakuryu decisively when asked about the Kyushu basho.
The Yokozuna who has been vigorously practicing since the beginning of the Jungyo says he is feeling positive about the state of his health. He intends to engage in degeiko with some of his potential rivals before the honbasho. “I’ll do what I have to do. The important thing is to get into the right flow in the basho”.
“I’ll be in the basho from day 1. That’s obvious,” was Kisenosato’s statement.
The newest Yokozuna did not practice on the dohyo every day of the Jungyo, but on the days he did, he showed signs of improvement both to his upper left side and to his left ankle. But his own statement was (as usually, I must say) somewhat vague: “A lot has happened in the past month. There were typhoons. And I got called to do dohyo-iri in various places, which is something I can’t always do. It was very different from the previous Jungyos I participated in.” More specifically about his health and participation in the basho: “I have been able to work my entire body patiently. As a rikishi, it’s obvious I have to participate in the basho, and I want to get results.”
“Be sure to remind me every 50 days!” reacted the dai-yokozuna when told yesterday that the Olympic games start in 1000 days. He reasserted his wish to perform a dohyo-iri in the Tokyo games. When asked about the next basho and his chances for his 40th yusho, he replied brightly “I’m doing swimmingly”.
Today he toned down his replies a little bit. “I joined the jungyo in the middle, and gradually improved my body and my dohyo-sense. My wish was to end the Jungyo in the best shape. I’d like to mark myself a 100, but I can only give myself 50.”
“As the senior yokozuna, I felt sometimes that I was able to lead and pull my convalescent junior fellow yokozuna forward,” he added with satisfaction.
Regarding his recent sodium habit, watch Goeido cover his head as Hakuho rains fire and brimstone – OK, just salt – all over the place:
At long last, we are just about 24 hours away from the Kyushu banzuke! Sumo fans rejoice! As usual, Tachiai will start our wall to wall coverage leading up to Kyushu pretty much now. I would like to sincerely thank the newest members of the team for providing amazing coverage of jungyo, and some fantastic biographical pieces during what is normally a slow season for sumo. It was very much appreciated.