Bruce’s Haru 2018 Banzuke Commentary

Banzuke 2017
Yes, A Banzuke from 2017…

First and up-front, the normal Tachiai banzuke podcast has been delayed due to yours-truly being away on business. We will work to have it ready for your viewing and listening pleasure on Friday.

With the publication of the Haru banzuke, Hakuho has set a new record by appearing for 64 consecutive tournaments as a Yokozuna. The man continues to rack up records, and although age is starting to nip at his heels, he refuses to slow down.

Mitakeumi holds on for a fifth consecutive tournament at the Sekiwake slot. Sadly he has yet to summon the mojo to start an Ozeki campaign, but fans are impressed that he is proving quite resilient at this rank. He is joined by Hatsu yusho winner Tochinoshin. The big Georgian has been out of the Sekiwake slot since July of 2016, and returns in glorious fashion. Fans are eager to see if he can run his score to double digits once again.

As lksumo posted, his banzuke forecast was once again amazingly good, but what surprised me was just how far down former Ozeki Terunofuji dropped. Now down at Juryo 5 (which he shares with Gagamaru), his fans cringe and wonder if his damaged body can even hold this rank. We all want our kaiju back. Fortunately for Takekaze, his drop was only to Juryo 1, and with a winning record he will be back in the top division by May. The road for Uncle Sumo (Aminishiki) is almost the same, but with his damaged knees, the task is much harder.

Abi and Ryuden seem to be carrying the banner for the “Freshmen” (as I have taken to calling them). Ranked in mid-Maegashira, they are going to have their hands full with a number of veterans who had a terrible tournament in January. If Yoshikaze is over whatever illness plagued him at Hatsu, we are likely to see a lot of great, madcap sumo in the middle tier this time.

Of course I have my eye on the giant at Komusubi 1 East, our favorite boulder, Ichinojo. He was last in the San’yaku at Nagoya 2015, and has not been able to maintain consistant good sumo since. This could be a huge turning point for the Mongolian giant, and everyone is eager to see if he continues his excellent performance from Kyushu and Hatsu. It’s been an even longer drought for Chiyotairyu, who was last Komusubi in September of 2014.

Much further down, Tachiai congratulates Texas sumotori Wakaichiro on his return to Sandanme. After an outstanding performance at Hatsu, the man from Nagasaki finds himself Sandanme 89 East. We can be certain that his coaches at Musashigawa have been tuning him up for his second run at this rank.

A great tournament starts two weeks from today, and Tachiai’s wall-to-wall coverage starts now!

6 thoughts on “Bruce’s Haru 2018 Banzuke Commentary

  1. i have everything crossed for some great, madcap sumo in the middle tier, as you so perfectly describe it… but first and foremost i hope my berserker’s health is ‘hyakk-pasento’ :-) and i’d also like to issue a ‘gambatte’ to J1 Kyokutaise and J2 Kyokushuho…. a jump is theirs for the taking…

  2. Apparently Terunofuji is only the 4th former ozeki and the 12th Emperor’s cup winner in history to drop down to juryo… the latest before him in those two categories being Baruto. It will be interesting to see if he can become the first ex-ozeki juryo to return to ozeki!

    • I think he is only the first or second who actually intends to participate in Juryo. Baruto retired when he dropped.

      As for his chances to return to Ozeki… well, I’m a fan of his, and it pains me to say this, but it’s more likely he’ll end up in Makushita at the end of this basho than end up back in Makuuchi, let alone be able to consistently do any kaiju sumo that will get him back to fish-lifting position. His physical condition has gone from bad to worse. First it was just the knees, but he also became weaker and weaker, and that diabetes doesn’t seem to be helping him at all. At the moment he doesn’t look like a sumo wrestler at all. Who knows what’s going on there.

      • The phrase “it pains me to say this” is pretty much compulsary for any comment on Terunofuji these days but its still true. Physically and mentally, he’s just not there.

        The only ozeki who extricated himself from this predicament and actually got back into makuuchi was Miyabiyama, but his (first) demotion to juryo was down to a suspension for gambling near the end of his career.


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