七月場所優勝予想 Who Will Win The July Tournament?

The July tournament begins on Sunday morning, Japan time. The NHK broadcasted its socially distant preview show and will broadcast it a few more times between now and shonichi. It’s great to see Sokokurai make an appearance early in the show as Arashio-oyakata, Stablemaster. There’s a lot of discussion about how rikishi train during such challenging times. We at Tachiai also brushed off the dust from our keyboards and several of us offer up our takes on who will win the July basho.

Asanoyama: I think that the shin Ozeki will have the least amount of ring rust, and he will dominate this July. Talk will start of Yokozuna potential.  His biggest challenge will be Hakuho, who will suffer quite a bit of ring rust.

Bruce

Kakuryu: This is the first time I’ve ever tipped him for a yusho, but if he’s in good enough shape then I think he just might do it. He seems to benefit from long spells on the sidelines, and the extra time to get his body right has been aided by being somewhat recently added to a stable with a good young sekitori training partner.

Josh

Hakuho has to be favorite on this one. As we know, after having faced fierce rivalries with Asashoryu, Harumafuji or Kisenosato, he should have no trouble destroying the current field of rikishi. His ageing, injury prone body has become his most dangerous opponent.

Tim

Shodai: I think the degeiko ban means Oitekaze and Tokitsukaze beya have a distinct advantage in training leading up to this unique tournament. Their heyagashira have trained with experienced, promising peers. I’ve tipped Shodai before but I feel this is his time. He’ll dust off the cobwebs the first few days with maegashira Onosho and Takarafuji and make a strong charge.

Andy

12 thoughts on “七月場所優勝予想 Who Will Win The July Tournament?

  1. For a lot of the “old guard”, I don’t think ring rust will be that big of a problem. Even if they haven’t had the best rikishi to train with, their skills are deeply entrained into their bodies at this point. Instead, I think the extra time to heal up their injuries is going to play the bigger role. Whose injuries would have had time to properly heal? Or at least heal enough for 15 days of going all out? I’m betting we might see a strong comeback from one or more of our mid to lower maegashira guys. Tochinoshin? Takayasu? Kotoshogiku? Maybe even Terunofuji?

  2. I’m with Josh, Hakuho would have figured out a way to train under these conditions, and he wants to rack up more wins before his body gives out. Raj was the big winner of the Grand Sumo Preview- he did not have to endure getting tossed to and fro by someone twice his size.

  3. I’m going to throw in my two cents as well. As most of the big names have been taken, I’m going to go off the board and pick a real dark horse contender who I believe could be a force in the July Basho: Kiribayama. I have been very impressed by Kiribayama thus far, and it is obvious that his time under the tutelage of Kakuryu has really paid off. Unlike Enho and Ishiura, who have also benefited from the mentorship of a Yokozuna, Kiribayama has enough size and skill on the mawashi to go toe to toe with the top rankers without having to rely on high-risk high reward wrestling that the latter two are so well known for. When I watch him fight I can’t help but see shades of Harumafuji, a clear sign that Kiribayama is destined for greatness.

  4. Renewed hope for Kotoshogiku and Terunofuji. They’ve had a chance to heal from their injuries.

  5. I’ll take Mitakeumi as well. I will just have to keep reminding myself that he isn’t going for two in a row. Of course its possible that his victory in “the basho that never was” actually happened and this one is a simulation but I don’t want to go all matrix on y’all.

    For me storyline #1 is the return of Terunofuji. Glory, disaster or knife-edge struggle for survival? #2 is Asanoyama as shin ozeki. Consolidation or conquest or something inbetween? #3 is Kiribayama in sanyaku. Is he Mongolia’s next rampaging stallion or will he be the Shetland pony in a pit of starving tigers? #4 is the possible last stand of the old guard. Kotoshogiku and Shohozan are 36, Tamawashi and Hakuho are 35, Kakuryu is 34. “La Garde meurt, elle ne se rend pas!”

  6. I was glad to see the Chiyonofuji segment on the preview show. My business trips to Japan coincided with the period of his dominance and I always tried to get back to the hotel in time to watch the highlight show. Although I’d never seen sumo before, it was immediately obvious that he was very special, and that there was much more to the sport than two big men pushing each other around.

  7. It would please me to no end to see Andy be right after Shodai’s heart-breaking near-miss in January, but I have to agree with Tim: when the GOAT is in and as healthy as he can be at this point in his career, he is the obvious pick. And not only does he have plenty of recent experience winning a tournament after sitting out all or most of a previous one, he won the May 2011 “technical examination” tournament the last time a basho was cancelled in March 2011. The stranger the circumstances, the more he seems to thrive.

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