Torikumi predictions

It’s nearly time! The torikumi (match schedule) for days one and two of the next basho will be published soon. Can we predict it in advance, though?

Firstly, we need to know who’s actually participating. If someone announces kyujo before the torikumi is published, they’re not scheduled for any bouts on the first two days. This involves a bit of guesswork: I’m going to assume that Kisenosato will take more time to recover and train – because if he shows up and doesn’t put on a Yokozuna level performance, he’s toast – but that everyone else in Makuuchi will be participating. Kakuryu is under pressure to show up and go the full 15 days. Terunofuji should not participate, but that was true for the last two bashos as well, and we all saw what happened then. Takayasu might take this basho off – since he’s not currently kadoban, he can afford to skip a basho without being demoted straight away, but I don’t think he’ll go kyujo from the start. He’ll turn up for the first day and see how it goes.

Assuming this prediction is correct – and if it’s not, I’ll update this post as and when kyujo announcements happen – we have eight San’yaku from eight different heya. This means they can all fight each other, so that’s 28 possible match-ups. At a wild guess, the San’yaku schedule will be 1 bout per day for the first three days, then two per day for eleven days, then three on senshuraku.

On day one, the musubi-no-ichiban is generally the lowest ranked San’yaku against the highest. We work backwards to fill out the previous seven bouts with upper Maegashira against San’yaku opponents, in order of ranking.

Y1e Hakuho – K1w Onosho: The red mawashi is powerful, but I’m not sure it will be enough.
Y2e Kakuryu – M1e Hokutofuji: Normally I feel sorry for the M1e guy who gets the roughest schedule in the banzuke, but after seeing Hokutofuji’s performance last basho, and knowing he’s probably pissed at missing out on the San’yaku spot, it might by the Yokozuna who needs my sympathy.
O1e Goeido – M1w Ichinojo: If they both want to do good sumo, this could be a great bout. But often, these two don’t really feel like doing good sumo. Goeido is prone to retreating and looking for slap-downs rather than employing his actually very powerful forward-moving sumo, while Ichinojo often gives up the moment his heels touch the tawara (which may be fear of injury; not irrational when you’re the heaviest man in Makuuchi).
M2e Yoshikaze – O1w Takayasu: A real test of the structural integrity of the dohyo as they slam into each other like a pair of angry trains.
S1e Mitakeumi – M2w Kotoshogiku: Mitakeumi has a 6-3 advantage in their history, and is currently on a four-win streak. Kotoshogiku was unconvincing last basho, and if Mitakeumi’s foot has healed, I know who the favourite is.
M3e Chiyotairyu – S1w Tamawashi: Again, there’s a clear advantage in winning history: 6-2 in Chiyotairyu’s favour. That said, Tamawashi did win their last two bouts (and looked like the much stronger rikishi last basho), so maybe he’s figuring it out now.
K1e Takakeisho – M3w Tochinoshin: We’re all eager to see if the big Georgian is healed up enough to cut it in the Joi, but Takakeisho is not what I’d call a typical San’yaku (no disrespect to him intended; just that his bouncy-ball sumo is very different from that of the rikishi around him). I’ll be cheering Takakeisho here, but I know Tochinoshin has a lot of fans.

Below that, everyone just faces their partner at the same rank:

M4e Shodai – M4w Arawashi
M5e Okinoumi – M5w Endo: The “startling recovery” squad match up. I’m really looking forward to this one, they were both great last basho.
M6e Takarafuji – M6w Ikioi
M7e Chiyoshoma – M8e Tochiozan: Little swap because Chiyoshoma and Chiyonokuni are from the same heya.
M7w Chiyonokuni – M8w Kaisei
M9e Shohozan – M9w Chiyomaru
M10e Terunofuji – M11e Kotoyuki: And another.
M10w Aminishiki – M11w Daishomaru
M12e Sokokurai – M12w Kagayaki
M13e Takekaze – M13w Daieisho
M14e Abi – M14w Yutakayama
M15e Ishiura – M15w Nishikigi
M16e Ryuden – M16w Asanoyama
M17e Daiamami – J1e Myogiryu


The day two torikumi is, as always, less predictable. Onosho got a San’yaku opponent on day one, so it’s Takakeisho’s turn. Assuming I’m correct about absences, he’ll face Kakuryu. Also, the rikishi within each San’yaku rank “cycle” in the torikumi order, to give everyone a slot in the more prestigious matches later in the day.

I’m not sure it’s always possible to predict with certainty which upper-Maegashira get matched against which San’yaku on day two.

Y2e Kakuryu – K1e Takakeisho
Y1e Hakuho – M1e Hokutofuji
M1w Ichinojo – O1w Takayasu
O1e Goeido – M2e Yoshikaze
M2w Kotoshogiku – S1w Tamawashi
S1e Mitakeumi – M3e Chiyotairyu
M3w Tochinoshin – K1w Onosho

Then everyone in lower Maegashira faces the nearest person that they haven’t fought yet, but today, the west rikishi get the later matches. Many thanks to Sakura for pointing this out in the comments.

M5e Okinoumi – M4w Arawashi
M4e Shodai – M5w Endo
M7e Chiyoshoma – M6w Ikioi
M6e Takarafuji – M7w Chiyonokuni
M8e Tochiozan – M8w Kaisei: This pairing didn’t happen on day one because of the need to avoid matching Chiyoshoma against Chiyonokuni.
M10e Terunofuji – M9w Chiyomaru
M9e Shohozan – M10w Aminishiki
M11e Kotoyuki – M11w Daishomaru
M13e Takekaze – M12w Kagayaki
M12e Sokokurai – M13w Daieisho
M15e Ishiura – M14w Yutakayama
M14e Abi – M15w Nishikigi
M17e Daiamami – M16w Asanoyama
M16e Ryuden – J1w Kyokutaisei


30 thoughts on “Torikumi predictions

  1. The torikumi will be decided on January 12. So much can change by then…

    At current viewing, it seems like both Kisenosato and Takayasu are aiming to participate. They are both practicing like mad.The YDC Keiko-soken will take place on January 5th, and will probably provide some insights into potential kyujo. The various heya have not even started doing joint trainings yet. When that happens we’ll have even more information.

    • I’m very much looking forward to what we can learn from the Keiko-soken and join training. If it starts to look like my kyoju predictions are off, I’ll update this post.

      I am very worried that we’re going to lose two Yokozuna this basho. I mean, maybe it will be for the best in the long run, but it’ll still smart.

      • This was actually the reason why I published my “Four Yokozuna” post when I did. The banzuke is going to start leaking yokozuna pretty soon.

        • To be forever the optimist, Kakuryu looked good on jungyo, and Kisenosato looked pretty good in keiko. Let’s just hope they do not overdo it.

          • I can see Kakuryu patching things up and holding on for a bit, but I’m pretty confident Kisenosato is toast. We’ll get to see who’s right soon!

      • It looks like your predictions might be right after all. Kisenosato looked really bad in today’s keiko soken (I will try to put up a post about it later). The head of the YDC is of the opinion that Kisenosato should go kyujo for another basho.

          • The post is up now. I found a short NHK video but nothing too detailed (that is, only parts of Kisenosato’s bouts are shown).

  2. I agree that Hokutofuji probably will put Kakuryu into a world of pain))).I saw pictures of Kisenosato-Takayasu training .They’re really seem to be frenzied))) ! We will see indeed after the join training ,if they are (especially Kisenosato) fit to compete.

    • According to reports, Kisenosato and Takayasu have gone at each other for 25+ bouts the last few practices, with Kisenosato dominating. Apparently Kisenosato also did butsukari on Takayasu, with the unusual detail that the yokozuna allowed Takayasu to ragdoll him as if he was some juryo guy.

      The intent, at the very least, is to participate in the hatsu basho.

      • Indeed. Kisenosato was actually thankful that Takayasu was willing to break the taboo and throw him following the full protocol.

        Anyway, this looks great and all, but they were also practicing together before Kyushu and Kisenosato dominated. The cracks in the plaster started to show when they were doing the joint Nishonoseki practices, and Goeido paid them a visit. Kisenosato had real trouble against him, and would have done himself a great favor to take the hint and go full kyujo instead of becoming the official kinboshi dispenser of the Kyushu basho.

        What I’m getting at is that the intent right now seems clear. Nishiiwa oyakata even used the word “yusho” in his blog entry about Kise. but once the Yokozuna faces some real non-Takayasu challenges, he may come to realize he is not up to the task yet.

      • Wait, twenty-five bouts per practice session? He’s not lacking for stamina training, that’s for sure.

        • The actual number was 30 or 31 bouts per session, of which he won about 25 each time. And that followed by butsukari. Stamina is certainly not his problem.

      • I didn’t know about the reverse-butsukari ,That’s something you don’t see every day.Thanks for the info ))).

        • It’s not that uncommon, but it is VERY rare for the junior rikishi to give the senior the “full” workout, including throwing them around. Doubly so when the senior is a Yokozuna. I guess Kisenosato felt he needed the extra motivation.

          • Yeah,i mean the senior rikishi are usually giving the hard time to the junior ones .Nothing wrong with some extra motivation.

  3. Chiyonokuni is OK? Haven’t heard – or did not read your updates careful enough – about his injury. Do you know anything? Is he going to participate with a not completely healed ankle?

    • In general, information about injuries is rarely disclosed. The one about Ura was a rare occurence indeed, and I guess Inagawa oyakata and Ura untypically felt they should keep the fans updated. Somebody just asked Kokonoe oyakata about this directly on Twitter. Got no answer, of course. So don’t expect information about Chiyonokuni’s injury, unless he goes kyujo and the kyokai publishes the content of his medical certificate as they did in the previous basho, or he is more or less genki and appears in some keiko pictures in the media.

  4. With regards to your Day 2. The cycle the M ranks as well. On Day 2 the west rikishi have the later bout compared to the east rikishi of the same rank, and in those situations they would often pair up the rikishi with the next person available on the banzuke he has yet to face. In this case we’d get Arawashi – Okinoumi and Endo- Shodai.

    Also, I think Tochiozan would be paired up with Kaisei on Day 2 since they wouldn’t have met on Day 1.

    • Oh, wow, you’re absolutely right about that! I’d been spending so much time trying to work out how they calculate the san’yaku schedule that I completely missed it. I’ll update the post to correct it.

  5. And when I say great breakdown, I mean everyone, the article and every comment…. This site rocks!

  6. It does indeed rock — best place in the world for us newer fans (or, at least, the best place in the world that doesn’t have chanko nabe for sale and throwable mats — working on that).

    Hopeful for Tochinoshin, worried for Kakuryu (and Kisenosato if he doesn’t go kyujo this time, argh), and above all still grieving the mess that was Harumafuji’s departure. That said, may the first basho of the year have a maximum amount of excellent sumo and a minimum amount of shenanigans and stupid injuries. Thanks to everyone at Tachiai for enhancing the fan experience!

      • I think if we go for branded zabutons, we need to invent zaboomerangs. No way I’m going to throw my zabuton without it coming back to me. :-)

    • Thanks! I felt sure he’d be sensible and take another basho to train after his poor keiko-soken performance, but I guess “sumo wrestler” and “sensible” don’t go together very often.


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