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