Abi hands in intai documents

Japanese press reports that Abi has handed in his intai documents, according to Shikoroyama oyakata.

The board convenes on August 6th to discuss his punishment, and will also decide whether or not to accept his resignation. However, the chances of it not being accepted are said to be slim.

Tochiozan Retrospective

Now that the tournament is over and you’re hankering for sumo content, enjoy this video of Tochiozan’s career. It begins with his announcement, seated with Kasugano-oyakata, where I thought it seemed very hard for him to say the word 引退. He seemed to swallow it rather than say it.

The video is awesome. It shows his debut as a young Kageyama, and his quick rise, picking up the sandanme yusho and on to Juryo promotion within two years (virtual warp speed in the sumo world). It goes on to show his playoff loss to Kyokutenho for the top division yusho in May 2012. He defeated Kisenosato in that tournament, too. It’s amazing how long these rivalries last. And he seemed about as happy as Shodai, settling for a special prize. He was a mainstay of the top division, peaking at Sekiwake.

Wrapping Up The July Basho

Tachiai congratulates former Ozeki Terunofuji (M17e, 13-2) on his incredible comeback and storybook victory. The “Kaiju” should be ranked much higher in September, and will likely face a regular slate of san’yaku opponents. If he can retain his current form, I wouldn’t bet against a repeat performance. Let’s take a look at what the results mean for other moves up and down the banzuke.

Yokozuna and Ozeki runs

A 12-3 jun-yusho was a strong performance by Asanoyama in his Ozeki debut, but should not put him on any sort of Yokozuna run. Neither Sekiwake will be promoted to Ozeki despite excellent 11-4 records. Shodai, whose previous result was 8-7 at Sekiwake, probably needs a 14-win yusho to be promoted in September; more likely, he’ll need double-digit wins in the next two basho. With 10 wins at M3 in March, including a 5-2 record against san’yaku opponents, 11 here, and his long record of consistent san’yaku performances, not to mention 2 yusho, Mitakeumi may be the more likely of the pair to get the nod at Aki, possibly with 11-12 wins.

The san’yaku ranks

Both Sekiwake will remain at the same ranks. After his breakout performance, Komusubi Daieisho (11-4), is, in my opinion, likely to get an extra Sekiwake slot, despite two of his wins being fusensho. This would also open up the West Komusubi slot for M1e Endo (8-7), and free the banzuke committee from having to either not promote him or create a precedent-setting extra Komusubi slot. M2 Takanosho (8-7) and M5 Hokutofuji (9-6), the only other upper maegashira with winning records, will have to settle for the two M1 slots.

The demotion picture

We have three clear demotions to Juryo: M15 Chiyomaru (4-11), M17 Kotoyuki (6-8-1), and M13 Kotonowaka (4-6-5). Two additional rikishi have demotable records: M16 Nishikigi (6-9) and M9 Ikioi (3-12). M12 Shohozan (5-10) secured a stay in the top division with three victories (one by default) in the final three days. My guess here is that Ikioi saved himself with his final-day victory, as there isn’t a strong enough promotion contender to take his place (see below). Nishikigi, on the other hand, should be returning to the second division, his reputation for Houdini-like escapes notwithstanding.

Promotions from Juryo

Three promotions are certain: Juryo yusho winner J1e Meisei (10-5), J2e Tobizaru (9-6), who just missed out last time, and the star of “A Normal Life”, J5e Kyokutaisei (10-5). I believe that they will be joined by J6e Hoshoryu (10-5), who will take Nishikigi’s spot. Narrowly missing out will be J5w Ichinojo (9-6), who lost his “exchange bout” against Shohozan.

The Juryo-Makushita exchange

Three rikishi will be dropping out of Juryo: J10 Asabenkei (3-12), J14 Chiyonoumi (6-9), and J13 Takagenji (6-9). With Tochiozan’s retirement, that’s four open slots. These will go to the Makushita yusho winner, former top-division mainstay Ms 12 Chiyonokuni (7-0), Ms2w Oki (5-2), Ms3e Nishikifuji (5-2), and Ms3w Kitaharima (5-2). Three members of the Makushita joi (Ms1-Ms5) will not move up to Juryo despite winning records, including former Komusubi Ms4w Jokoryu (5-2) and Ms5e “Prince” Naya (4-3).

The field for the new Makushita joi is crowded. The contenders include the 3 Juryo dropouts, although Asabenkei could fall below Ms5, Ms1 Kotodaigo (3-4), and the trio missing out on ptomotion: Ms4e Sakigake (4-3), Jokoryu, and Naya. That fills either 6 or 7 of the 10 slots. Two more will go to Ms6e Kaisho (5-2) and Ms10w Shiraishi (6-1). And a lack of strong winning records above him likely means that fan favorite Ms19 Ura (6-1) should continue his comeback from within the promotion zone!

I think that’s it, but if there’s anything I didn’t cover, please let me know in the comments. I will cover the Juryo promotions when they’re announced on Wednesday, and will have a full banzuke prediction post up in the coming weeks.

Tokyo July Basho Senshuraku Highlights

Octagon Presents Terunofuji the Emperor’s Cup

Leonid did a great job of explaining what’s at stake today. One thing that I can’t get over, though, it is August 2nd. The July basho yusho was, oddly enough, decided in August after being fought in Tokyo. One Ozeki on the torikumi for senshuraku and zero Yokozuna confirm we are in a time of flux on the dohyo. But off the dohyo, the whole damn world is in flux. However, the drama of this past fortnight has served as a wonderful distraction.

Terunofuji’s Championship serves to demonstrate that our substantial challenges can be overcome. The next time we get together, we will be confident for the health and safety of all involved and that we can all breathe a deep sigh of relief. The coronavirus reminders have been everywhere and lapse in protocols may end up costing Abi very dearly. The virus robbed Terunofuji’s triumphant return of much of the pomp and celebration he’s due. No parade. No senshuraku parties. Supporters are beyond arms reach, though we are with him in spirit. I hope he gets to party properly after his next title.

Highlight Matches

Sadanoumi (8-7) defeated Nishikigi (6-9): Sadanoumi hot off the line, wrapped up Nishikigi and walked him back and out to pick up his kachi-koshi. Yorikiri.

Tochinoshin (10-5) defeated Kotoshoho (8-7): Tochinoshin got the better of the initial charge, forcing Kotoshoho back a step. Kotoshoho pivoted but Tochinoshin followed and got his big left paw up around the back of Kotoshoho’s neck and pulled down violently. Kotoshoho had no choice but to touch down. Hatakikomi.

Kaisei (6-9) defeated Shimanoumi (5-10): Shimanoumi tried to drive forward into Kaisei but Kaisei’s trunk was well set at the center of the ring. Kaisei shoved Shimanoumi backwards twice, hurling the matching orange mawashi out of the ring. Tsukidashi.

Wakatakakage (10-5) defeated Ishiura (4-11): Ishiura seemed to pull something in his right leg. He was unable to put much weight on his right foot. Wakatakakage blasted the hopping Ishiura off the dohyo. Ishiura limped back up onto the dohyo. Oshidashi.

Kotoeko (10-5) defeated Terutsuyoshi (8-7): Terutsuyoshi’s ashitori worked once but Kotoeko was ready for it. He dodged out of the way and regrouped grabbing for Terutsuyoshi’s belt. Taking a page from Tochinoshin, Kotoeko landed his left on the back of Terutsuyoshi and pulled him down to the floor. Hatakikomi.

Ryuden (7-8) defeated Kotonowaka (4-6-4): Kotonowaka still could not put much weight on his left leg. Ryuden was able to get Kotonowaka sliding backwards to the bales and over. Yorikiri.

Hokutofuji (9-6) defeated Kotoshogiku (8-7): Hokutofuji met Kotoshogiku head on but stepped to the side with his right arm up on Kotoshogiku’s shoulder, forcing Kotoshogiku to the ground. Hatakikomi.

Chiyotairyu (6-9) defeated Aoiyama (5-10): Aoiyama was a bit over-eager, charging forward off balance. Chiyotairyu pulled with his left hand up on Aoiyama’s shoulder applying sufficient pressure to force Aoiyama down. Hikiotoshi.

Ikioi (3-12) defeated Kagayaki (5-10): Ikioi showed some strength and wile for the first time this week. Driven to the bales by Kagayaki he drove forward, forcing Kagayaki back. However, Kagayaki wasn’t going to go over the bales easily, either. Kagayaki grabbed Ikioi by the mawashi, forcing him back but Ikioi deftly slipped to the side and pulled Kagayaki down. Shitatenage.

Halftime

Kiribayama (6-9) defeated Takarafuji (5-10): Takarafuji wiggled and retreated, trying to keep Kiribayama off his belt. But Kiribayama was relentless and able to slip both hands on there. Once he was secure in the morozashi, queue deathspin throw. Uwatenage.

Onosho (2-13) defeated Chiyomaru (4-11): Follow the bouncing Chiyomaru. Onosho got the better of the tachiai but Chiyomaru used his mass to arrest Onosho’s progress and started moving forward. Onosho pivoted several times in retreat to stay away from the edge of the ring but as Chiymaru forced him along it, Onosho executed a throw. Shitatenage.

Takayasu (10-5) defeated Takanosho (8-7): Takayasu’s aggressive tsuppari pushed Takanosho up and back. A well-timed pull sent Takanosho to the clay. Hikiotoshi.

Yutakayama (5-10) defeated Enho (5-10): Enho eager to get things started but Yutakayama. Yutakayama advanced forward, keeping his weight low. His effective tsuppari targeted Enho’s face and shoulders. He attempted two hatakikomi pulls, the second of which was more effective in getting Enho off balance but Enho sprang backwards. Yutakayama pursued and forced Enho out. Oshitaoshi.

Endo (8-7) defeated Tokushoryu (7-8): Our sole Darwin bout? Tokushoryu allowed Endo in to the belt far too easily. Endo bounced Tokushoryu to the edge where Tokushoryu’s foot slipped from the bales. They give Endo the yorikiri.

Sanyaku

Tamawashi (10-5) defeated Okinoumi (9-6): Tamawashi is a bruiser and Okinoumi was ready for a brawl. Okinoumi chased Tamawashi around the ring with effective slaps and thrusts. Tamawashi won on the belt, though, throwing Okinoumi at the edge. Uwatenage.

Daieisho (11-4) defeated Myogiryu (10-5): Daieisho ducked to the side, as Myogiryu was pitched too far forward. A disappointing end to Myogiryu’s fantastic basho. Hikiotoshi.

Terunofuji (13-2) defeated Mitakeumi (11-4): Showtime. Wow. Morozashi from Terunofuji and Mitakeumi was done. Terunofuji advanced, marching Mitakeumi out. Yusho Terunofuji! Yorikiri.

Asanoyama (12-3) defeated Shodai (11-4): Asanoyama bulldozed into Shodai who’s back to a less-than-impressive tachiai. After yesterday’s bout with Terunofuji, I was expecting more fire from the Daikon. However, Asanoyama corralled Shodai effectively, working Shodai back to the edge. Shodai nearly pulled the Ozeki down but Asanoyama recovered. Oshidashi.

Terunofuji has been here before. But I NEVER would have thought he’d storm back in his first makuuchi tournament. The pink macaron! Congratulations, Terunofuji!!!

Aside from the yusho, Terunofuji picked up the Outstanding Performance and Technique Prizes. Daieisho and Mitakeumi also collected Outstanding Performance Prizes. Not to be left out, Shodai was given the Fighting Spirit Prize for actually having a solid tachiai against Kaiju. See what you can do?

Thank you for enjoying this tournament with us. Time to clean up and get ready for September.