Kyushu Basho Genki Report


Are you ready? The last basho of the year is getting ready to start this weekend in the magical city of Fukuoka, and Tachiai will be bringing you all the best. As with many of the tournaments for the past few years, injuries at or near the top are stealing headlines early, but the aggressive young rikishi are ready to move ever higher as the injured bow out.

Without further delay.. the Genki report!

Rikishi: Harumafuji
Genki: ✭✭✭
Notes: He took the Aki yusho by sheer force of will alone. It was clear that every day was misery, but he mounted the dohyo and gave battle to everyone. He throttled back quite a bit during the fall jungyo, and he has been rather guarded about his condition.
Forecast: Nobody stops Harumfuji, they will need to carry him out on a stretcher first. He’s in until double digits, even if it kills him.

Rikishi: Hakuho
Genki: ✭✭✭
Notes: He sat out Aki, and has been hit or miss during jungyo and the run up to the Kyushu tournament. His surgery last year to repair his toe and his knee still bother him from time to time, but he seems together enough to at least start the basho.
Forecast: The boss wants 40 yusho, but he seems to have new found appreciation for his age and the wear that is showing on his body. His first week is against lower rankers, so I expect he will be cautious from the start.

Rikishi: Kisenosato
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: The Great Pumpkin has been in rough shape since he ruptured his pectoral muscle in Osaka. I can state with some certainty that he did not get the recommended surgical treatment, but instead tried to nurse things along until he was “better”. He has looked fairly convincing in practice for several weeks, and maybe he’s good enough?
Forecast: We should see within the first few days if he is really going to be able to compete. Millions of sumo fans want him to be healthy, and he seems ready to go.

Rikishi: Goeido
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: Goeido can be compared to a great opportunist. He heads into Kyushu without any kadoban risk, and with questionable condition among the Yokozuna and his fellow Ozeki, Takayasu. He has looked solid in practice, and some of his blistering tachiai launch sequences were on display this past week.
Forecast: If we start losing Yokozuna, he is a Yusho contender, I predict.

Rikishi: Takayasu
Genki: ✭✭
Notes: A healthy Takayasu is a force of nature. Strong, stable and with almost inhuman endurance. In a battle of strength there are none who can best him consistently. Sadly his thigh muscle injury seems to not be completely healed, and he is literally limping into Kyushu looking to clear his kadoban status.
Forecast: By hook or by crook, the newest Ozeki is going to pick up 8 wins if he can go the distance. If he’s as injured as I think he is, it’s going to be daily agony for him.

Rikishi: Mitakeumi
Genki: ✭✭
Notes: After some decent coverage prior to Aki, Mitakeumi really failed to deliver; even against a depleted Ozeki / Yokozuna roster. Sure, even the best sumotori have bad tournaments, but Mitakeumi has not really been displaying dominant sumo in the days leading up to Kyushu.
Forecast: Much as I like Mitakeumi, I think he may go make-koshi this tournament. The upper San’yaku all need a lot of wins, and that means Komusubi and Sekiwake are going to get pounded this time.

Rikishi: Yoshikaze
Genki: ✭✭✭
Notes: Yoshikaze is a stalwart. No matter what is happening, he puts it all on the line every day. But he’s also rather “Streaky”, meaning that he goes on both winning and losing runs for multiple days. He’s in his home ground now, and the people of Oita are likely to be in attendance to cheer on the Berserker.
Forecast: I also think he is a strong candidate for make-koshi, in part because of the pressure from above to pick up wins, and the fact that a 7-8 record could put him at Komusubi for January. Losing a few to the right people might go far.

Rikishi: Terunofuji
Genki: ✭
Notes: Entering Kyushu as an Ozekiwake, he needs 10 wins to return to Ozeki standing. A healthy Terunofuji could do this with a smile in between runs to McDonalds, but our dear Kaiju is in terrible physical condition.
Forecast: I just hope he is not more seriously hurt, the double digit wins seem almost impossible, but I know he is going to give it everything.

Rikishi: Kotoshogiku
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: Who thought that the Kyushu Bulldozer could battle back into San’yaku? Not me, that is certain. But as of late, Kotoshogiku has really been turning up and delivering burly, aggressive, dominant sumo. A Genki Kotoshogiku is pure magic, and I sincerely hope he’s in good form for Kyushu. As a hometown boy, I can assure you that his fans will be out in force. Look for a week 2 match against Terunofuji if the Kaiju looks to be getting close to his 10 wins.
Forecast: Probably a solid basho from Kotoshogiku, likely kachi-koshi and retaining San’yaku for the new year.

Rikishi: Onosho
Genki: ✭✭✭
Notes: Super-tadpole Onosho has been laying low, and avoiding high intensity training with the big guns. Prior to Aki, he worked sailing with some of the best, and took a pounding. This really helped him get ready to excel during September, but for Kyushu he has stayed mostly at home to train. We will see if it works.
Forecast: Make-koshi to be certain, but he is going to take a few scalps. He will be back.

Rikishi: Takakeisho
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: You can bet your finest Okonomiyaki that Takakeisho wants to put Onosho behind him on the January banzuke. He is tough, he is motivated, and reports are he is in great condition. I expect that like most of the joi, they are going to be bled hard this tournament.
Forecast: The re-match with Hakuho should be a highlight match in the first week.

Rikishi: Chiyotairyu
Genki: ✭✭✭✭
Notes: The supersized edition of Chiyotairyu was really producing during Aki and he’s looking to repeat in Kyushu. But if the Yokozuna and Ozeki corps are going to be competing all the way through Kyushu, he may have a tough road. Chiyotairyu does not seem to be worried, he trains like a mad man, and may be in his best condition ever.
Forecast: The rest of the joi are going to get wise to his thunderous tachiai, and that will leave him off tempo.

14 thoughts on “Kyushu Basho Genki Report

  1. All the yokozuna are in iffy condition, to one degree or another, but Hakuho seems to be the genkiest. Admittedly, during jungyo, he has only been doing butsukari geiko. But in the past few days he has been doing some very serious degeiko in various stables as well as taking visits to his own stable.

    In fact I read that he damaged Ishiura’s neck in one of his practices with a smashing Tachiai.

    He trained with Onosho a couple of days ago. If the mountain does not come to Muhammad, Muhammad comes to the mountain… Fifteen bouts, Hakuho winning 11 of them. He followed that with some lengthy butsukari, which I think is part of a tactic to put the fear of god into the youngsters. Only it doesn’t exactly work with Onosho, who is particularly cocky. He simply said that he took these practice bouts as a lesson to help him win when they meet for the first time this basho. :-)

    The next day he practiced with Hokutofuji, result: 9-4. So I think that Hakuho is certainly not going to be limping on the dohyo this basho.

    If Onosho can beat Hakuho 4 times out of 15, then he’s not in as bad a condition as he’s made out to be. I think perhaps his lack of degeiko was due to not getting too many invitations, now that the upper echelon regard him as a serious contender.

    • Great insight as always. I think Hakuho is in great shape for practice, but once they crank things up to basho level, he may be sort of iffy. Should that be the case, I look for him to handle his first few bouts without going into his normal attack mode. We saw this earlier this year, and after the fact it was because he was still quite sore from his surgery.

      Shame about Ishiura, I remember reading that too.

      I have had zero intel on Hokutofuji, and I really really want to know how he is doing. This is kind of a pivotal basho for him, as he seems to have reached a bit of a wall in terms of advancement. I know the guy has wonderful potential, I am going to assume its all mental up to the next level.

      • The Ishiura thing is part of Hakuho’s strange luck, it seems. Others overdo their keiko, and get injured or exhausted (Terunofuji, Kisenosato, Takayasu). Hakuho overdoes his keiko, and of course somebody else gets hurt. :-)

          • You are the king of sumo forecasting in my book, but I personally think that Kisenosato is in a different mental state the Hakuho is. Hakuho will pull out if he’s iffy, I get the feeling that even if he’s iffy, Kisenosato is going to be up there every day. In my book, that’s the extra star.

  2. My only reservation with Kotoshogiku is his inability to own sanyaku with his usual thrusts. He still tries the hug-and-chug and his bag of other tricks isn’t deep enough yet. I don’t see an ozeki run until he starts winning with throws.

    • Yeah, no way on an Ozeki run, but I think he’s looking solid for the first time since last year at Kyushu, plus he seems to really shine in his home town, so I am guessing we are going to see a great run from Kotoshogiku, unless he gets injured.

  3. First time I ever heard “The Great Pumpkin.” My wife and I have English nicknames for many of the wrestlers, and not all of them are nice! But they are just for fun and easy identification. Here’s an easy one to guess: Jackie Gleason.


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