Terunofuji (照ノ富士) Sheds His Kadoban Status


Dispatched With Great Prejudice

Going into Haru, Terunofuji was a sad, depressing tale. As readers of Tachiai recall, both Andy and I lamented that Terunofuji was this amazing unstoppable force. Even Hakuho could not be counted on reliably to stop him. There were rikishi who were privately afraid to face him on the dohyo, as he had a tendency to win in ways that risked injury to his opponents.

Then came injuries, and more injuries. The Mongolian giant sometimes appeared as if he could hardly mount the dohyo let along present himself as a worthy opponent. As a result, he has been kadoban 4 times in the last 8 basho, and was becoming a bit of a parody of this original self. In the basho where he was able to secure a winning record, it was always 8-7, the minimum required. He was limping along, hoping to somehow endure.

On Tachiai we openly discussed if he should consider retirement, as he was not presenting Ozeki class sumo, and was embarrassing himself. There is nothing we can find in the sumo press that discusses how Terunofuji returned to close to his original form, but it’s clear that at least for Haru, the great Terunofuji is back.

Tachiai congratulates the big Ozeki in not just returning to confirmed Ozeki status, but doing so in a truly welcome display of strength and skill.

Kadoban Ozeki Kotoshogiku One Loss From Demotion


Goeido Delivers Penultimate Defeat

Kotoshogiku’s sumo career is now on the brink, as he is one loss away from make-koshi and demotion from Ozeki. This is the seventh career kadoban status, and many fans think it’s time for him to retire or focus on healing up for several months. The cumulative injuries of years of performing at the top levels of a brutal, physical sport have taken their toll.

He will face Yokozuna Kakuryu on day 11, who has his own troubles. But absent some miracle, Kotoshogiku will be demoted from his Ozeki rank at the end of the Hatsu basho. Will he try to fight back from Sekiwake? Will he retire and go on to coach sumo or run a stable? The answer may come soon.

Hatsu Story 4 – Kotoshogiku Kadoban


For a 7th Time, The Ozeki’s Rank Is At Risk

In 2011, Kotoshogiku – a Fukuoka native – was promoted to Ozeki after a series of strong performances as Sekiwake. In the past 5 years, he has turned in a losing record for 6 tournaments, although 3 of them were due to injuries and subsequent withdrawals.

As an Ozeki, he does not surrender his rank with a single losing tournament, but rather two losing tournaments in a row. After the first tournament under 50%, he is labeled “Kadoban” and placed at risk of demotion back to Sekiwake.

During Aki of 2016, I jokingly refereed to Kotoshogiku and Goeido as the “Kadoban Twins” as each of them had been turning in miserable records for a while, and really seemed to be milking the Ozeki rank, rather than excelling. Of course that basho, Goeido found his sumo and dominated every match. Though Kotoshogiku managed to win with a 9-6 record, it is clear the injuries that he has sustained over the years are taking a cumulative toll.

With Kotoshogiku now 32 years old, it may be time for him to accept that the stress of the Sumo life may have reached its logical outcome, and retire while he is still Ozeki. I for one would love to see him healthy, strong and on game once more.

I should mention that at the 2016 Hatsu Basho, we saw Kotoshogiku go 14-1 and win the tournament, so he can still win when he is healthy. But can he gather himself, overcome his injuries and win with authority?

Kotoshogiku’s Prior Kadoban Tournaments

  • November 2012 – Kyushu Basho
  • January 2014 – Hatsu Basho
  • July 2014 – Nagoya Basho
  • January 2015 – Hatsu Basho
  • July 2016 – Nagoya Basho
  • September 2016 – Aki Basho

Terunofuji Defeats Hakuho


Clearing Kadoban Status In Style

Terunofuji has been playing hurt since the start of Kyushu, and many sumo fans watch daily as his left knee turns progressively more gruesome colors. But somehow the big Ozeki manages to stay fighting, and he continues to win.

Today, he surprised Yokozuna Hakuho in a match that was quite similar to day 11’s win for Kisenosato. Hakuho chose a move and strike strategy, and Terunofuji wanted to wrap up Hakuho and turn it into a contest of strength and mass. Terunofuji is truly enormous, and prior to his injury, some rikishi were actually worried about facing him on the dohyo.

With his win over Hakuho, Terunofuji gets his kochi-koshi, and clears his kadoban status. Tachiai congratulates a true warrior in persevering, and emerging victorious.