Makushita Sweet 16

I don’t know how much interest there is in these posts, but for my money, some of the best action is in Makushita, where exciting newcomers mix it up with veterans for a shot at the salaried ranks.

As a reminder, the Makushita yusho race is essentially a seven-round single-elimination tournament, with the 120 or so rikishi reduced by half over two-day rounds, until one man with a 7-0 record takes the title (occasionally, same-heya rikishi and other wrinkles throw a wrench into the works, and we end up with a playoff and a 6-1 champion). Three rounds have been completed so far, and we are left with 14 (rather than 16) undefeated wrestlers with 3-0 records. The next round, unfolding over Days 7 and 8, will reduce the number to seven.

I won’t mention all 14 rikishi with unblemished records, but some notables are Ms2e Hokuseiho, M8e Oshoma, M10w Tomokaze, M23e Otsuji, and M59e Kanzaki, who is appearing in only his second basho after starting at Sd100TD in March and taking the 4th division title. The 14 rikishi should be paired up in rank order; I have Hokuseiho vs. Oshoma circled on Day 7, but most of these bouts are being saved for Nakabi.

If a wrestler in the Ms1-Ms15 ranks can go 7-0, they receive a near-automatic promotion to Juryo. The other way to stake a promotion claim is to finish with a winning record from Ms1-Ms5. After only 3 rounds of bouts, all 10 members of this group are still technically in contention, and it’s too early to speculate on the ultimate outcome, but the above-mentioned Hokuseiho is off to a good start, as is Ms1e Chiyonoumi (2-1). I’ll try to keep the reports coming every two days or so, as additional rounds of bouts are completed.

7 thoughts on “Makushita Sweet 16

  1. Between Hokuseiho, Oshoma, and Kinbozan, it seems like a fresh wave a mainlanders is about to take over the salaried ranks. I’ve loved watching all 3 in Makushita so far and I can’t wait to see them slug it out for prize money. Kinbozan might be out of the running this time, but his match with Hokuseiho was a barn burner and I think the odds are good they both gain promotion to Juryo for July! And Oshoma won’t be far behind. Neither will Nishikawa or Kanno or Fukai, in my opinion.

    Makushita is incredibly exciting right now.

      • There’s definitely been a lot of turnover in Juryo. I wonder how it compares, historically. Seems a lot of guys break in to the division but get thrown back to Makushita quickly.

        • A quick search suggests that 3-4 exchanges per basho is pretty typical, and I haven’t seen an uptick recently—if anything, the shimpan department has been bending over backwards not to demote incumbents who would have been sent down in the past.

  2. “I don’t know how much interest there is in these posts…”
    Speaking for myself, there is lots of interest! Please do keep the Makushita reports coming.
    (Sad that Shishi lost today, but at least it was a good fight.)

  3. Same here! I ALWAYS read and watch – I like the action better here a lot of the time now! Thanks Andy!

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