Everything You Need to Know After Act One of the 2018 Kyushu Basho


Takakeisho 4

The 2018 Kyushu Basho is turning into one of the most intriguing, unpredictable tournaments we’ve had this year. We’ve seen some stellar performances from unexpected places, and some abysmal sumo from some of the top stars. As a result, Kyushu has been something of a Bizarro World Basho and it feels like the sumo world has gone topsy-turvy. With Act Two on the horizon, here’s everything you need to know to get up to speed after Act One of Kyushu.

Yusho Race

Without a resident Yokozuna, and the Ozeki corps beginning to crack, the Yusho race is very much up in the air. At the head of the pack are two very surprising characters: Komusubi Takakeisho and Meagashira 2 Tochiozan, who both enter Act Two with perfect 5-0 records. Right behind them is a mob of rikishi including Daiamami, Onosho, Daiesho, Chiyotairyu, Abi, and Takayasu. All of these men have four wins and will be waiting eagerly for Takakeisho and Tochiozan to make a mistake.

Kachi Koshi and Make Koshi

With Act One in the books, we now have a large group of rikishi who are at least halfway to their coveted kachi koshi. This list includes every member of the Yusho race listed above, and each one of them could have a winning record by the end of Act Two should they keep their losses to a minimum. On the flip side, we have a huge crowd who have four or more losses and are heading towards a losing record. At the very bottom of this list is the hapless Arawashi, who is 0-5 and looks too injured to put up a fight. Above him are Chiyomaru, Chiyonokuni, Takanosho. Yutakayama, Takarafuji, Nishikigi (though his only win did come from Ozeki Goeido) Ryuden, Kaisei (technically 1-2-2 after sitting out the first two days, but like the rest he still needs seven more wins to save his rank), and Ichinojo, who all have 1-4 records. These men will need to get their sumo in gear, or else face demotion for the New Year.


Prior to his departure, Kisenosato gave out three kinboshi to Maegashira wrestlers. These lucky recipients were Hokutofuji, Myogiryu, and Tochiozan. Now that Kise is kyujo, the kinboshi number has been capped at three.


Speaking of Kisenosato, let’s address the elephant in the room. As I’m sure many of you know, Yokozuna Kisenosato went kyujo prior to the beginning of Day 5. It has since been revealed that Kise sprained his right knee during his first-day match with Takakeisho and as a result, pulled out of Kyushu following his fourth straight loss. This decision came after consulting his Oyakata, who told Kisenosato that he could not continue in his condition. According to Kisenosato, he wanted to compete for the fans as the sole Yokozuna but had to put his recovery first, and has been prescribed a month of treatment. The Yokozuna has also stated that he has no intention to retire and wishes to return in time for the winter jungyo. It is yet to be determined what action the NSK will take, and we could very well have witnessed the end of Kisenosato’s career on the dohyo. But for the time being, Kyushu is officially a Nokozuna Basho.

Act One of the 2018 Kyushu Basho has been a very dramatic one. For some, the “play” has been a thriller, for others, it’s been a tragedy. What can be said for sure though, is that this unpredictable Basho is just heating up!


5 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know After Act One of the 2018 Kyushu Basho

  1. I try to take a more cautious approach to the first five days. It’s not going to decide the yusho race and it’s not going to decide anyone’s KK/MK for certain. I prefer to see it as a chance to see who’s genki and who isn’t.

      Obviously Not Genki:

    Kisenosato. Yeah.
    Arawashi. He just seems to have no strength in that leg.
    Kaisei. He’s competing hurt, although he does have enough strength to bully Mitakeumi out of the dohyo.
    Ikioi. He’s getting by on determination alone, by the looks of it.
    Mitakeumi. He normally does great in the first week and flags in the second. This time, he’s started out flagging.
    Tochinoshin. Normally, Tochinoshin gets away with having one very strong technique in that left-hand outside grip. This basho, it seems he can’t break through anyone’s defense to land it, and he can’t come up with anything that works without it.

      Obviously Pretty Genki:

    Tochiozan and Takakeisho.
    Onosho! He’s not back up to 100% yet, but 80% of Onosho seems to be doing just fine at Maegashira 13.
    Nishikigi. Yes, I know, he’s 1-4. But this is his highest ever rank by a huge margin and he’s making his opponents work for every win. He probably won’t get KK but if he does well enough his demotion will still leave him well above the Juryo-boundary purgatory he’s been stuck in for ages.
    Hokutofuji. He’s looking as strong as he did back in 2017.
    Kotoshogiku. Well, ok, he’s not looking genki by his old standards; the guy was Ozeki once. But he’s competing well at his current level.
    Shodai. Ever frustrating to watch with his lacklustre tachiai and great everything else, he does seem to be gradually improving.

      Not sure, could go one way or the other:

    Takayasu. Of all the Ozeki, he’s doing the best… but a couple of his wins have been pretty damn close. If you told me he’d pick up the yusho, I wouldn’t bet against you. If you told me he was going to go MK and be fighting from kadoban in 2019, I wouldn’t bet against you.
    Abi. Long-limbed Abi-zumo works just fine at mid-maegashira, but when someone does have a good answer to it, he seems to fold.
    Chiyotairyu. He’s getting a lot of work out of that power-tachiai, but I’m yet to be convinced he can back it up with winning sumo if he doesn’t win within the first few seconds.
    Ichinojo. I’m not willing to write him off yet. It seems that he often does very badly in the first five days and picks it up later.
    Goeido. Ever unreliable, I’m not expecting great things from Goeido, but he has shown an impressive ability to turn it around and do great sumo before. He certainly doesn’t seem to have physical problems.

    • Oh true, that goes without being said. I see Act One as a building block from which guys who are in the Yusho race and who are gravitating towards their kachi koshi/make koshi can work on in Acts Two and Three. Nothing set in stone. If it’s one thing I’ve learned about sumo, it’s that you can’t count on anything when it comes to in ring performances.

      My goal with these posts is to get new fans to the sport (and old fans who missed the beginning) up to speed, so they know who needs to get their act together, who’s looking good, and who’s got their eyes on the prize.

    • You are correct, but I thought I’d include him in that bunch as like the rest he’ll still need seven wins to save his rank. I have made a note of it in the post though, thank you for your comment!


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