Makushita Elite 8

The Makushita yusho race is in full swing. Four rounds of bouts have whittled down the 120 or so rikishi to 7 undefeated wrestlers with 4-0 records. Tomorrow, they’ll face each other (and the highest-ranked undefeated Sandanme man) to give us our semifinalists.

In the highlight bout, M8e Oshoma takes on M10w Tomokaze in a first-time meeting. The former is only in his 4th tournament, having started at Ms15TD in November and gone 16-9 in upper Makushita. The latter is on his way back up after a horrific injury sent him from a career high of M3 all the way down to Jonidan. If one of these two can go 7-0, they get fast-tracked to Juryo.

The undercard bouts feature Nionoumi vs. Tochiseryu, veteran Kitaharima vs. Asonoyama (not Asanoyama), and the dark-horse bottom-of-the-division contender, M59e Kanzaki, vs. Sd2w Yuma. Kanzaki is appearing in only his second basho after starting at Sd100TD in March and taking the 4th division title; he’s won his first 11 professional bouts.

Outside the yusho race, nothing has yet been decided in the Ms1-Ms5 promotion zone, but the picture is starting to get clearer. Ms2e Hokuseiho (3-1) would probably all but clinch promotion if he can best Ms3e Chiyosakae (3-1), who would also be in a good position with a win. The Ms1 duo of Chiyonoumi and Nishikawa sports matching 2-2 records, and each needs two more wins to taste salaried status. Ms4w Kinbozan (3-1), the March champion with a 22-3 career record, likewise likely needs 2 wins, while everyone else probably needs to win out and hope for good banzuke luck. I’ll try to keep the reports coming as additional rounds of bouts are completed.

3 thoughts on “Makushita Elite 8

  1. Go Tomokaze! I was totally behind him when he was making his ascent, largely due to his no make-koshi streak. I would love to see him truly back to that form.

    • The problem with Tomokaze is that he will turn 28 already this year and is walking on borrowed knees already. He was promising before his injury, but doesn’t have the super human strength of Teru. In November last year he was Makushita #37, 10 ranks ahead of Ryuden who was his only loss that basho. Now Ryuden is at the top of Juryo and probably returning to Makuuchi, while Tomokaze is still at Ms10 only. He returned in March 21, so whatever of that injury is still holding him back will probably not diminish any further. He probably wont be able to return to his former strength.

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