Gentlemen, spring is usually a time of change and new beginnings, but as far as Sumo and this website are concerned summer is a time for changes and new beginnings. Your humble writer, has been temporarily banished to the home-country. So for the next 3 basho I’ll be reporting from quite some distance. I apologize for the pause in reports and news, but I have been in transit, settling in, and getting my internet sorted. From here on out I’ll still be keeping the site up to date with reports and news breaks, and with the plethora of time I’ll have on my hands, expect ample whiskey reviews from this guy. Anyway, down to business.
One thing that will not change is Hakuho. 14-1 at the least. Most likely a zensho-yusho as we move into the first real basho in a while.
As this is our first real banzuke in quite some time. There are some surprises, and some big surprises. The biggest of which was a 3rd sekiwake spot being created for Kakuryu (and well deserved at that), first time since Hatsu 2005. Both the fish and the Geeku are looking good going into this basho, a score of 12 for the Geeku could secure an Ozeki promotion and a score of 10 or more keeps the fish on track for promotion, however, Kisenosato has to work hard to get the respect back after his piss poor 8-7 showing back in May.
If the technical examination really meant anything, then Kotooshu would have been bumped back to komusubi at least. The Bumbling Bulgarian couldn’t buy a win (pun intended) back in may and is fighting back from kadoban as a result, Harumafuji needs to keep taking his Ama-mucil. He showed more spunk than of late back in May and if he can keep it up he’ll have a good basho. Baruto needs to keep focused after 8 wins, and keep in the yusho race for a bit, and Kaio… I’m not even going to comment.
Komusubis look interesting as well. Not many expected Tochinoshin to get the bump from all the way down in M6, but he did, and well deserved with the a share of the jun-yusho at 12-3. I wouldn’t expect too much from the Georgian in the meat grinder, kachikoshi is expected, but 10-5 would be better. Same with Goeido, he hasn’t been ranked this high since Kyushu 2009 in which he got a 7-8. His highest score from this rank was a 9-6 in his hometown basho during Haru 2009, and he lost to all the guys on top now with the exception of Baruto and Kotooshu.
As for the Joi, I don’t have much to say. M1 Yoshikaze is a bit over-ranked here, but could do with the experience. Same with Tosayutaka. At M2 Kyokutenho is a bit too old, I would look for a 7-8 or 6-9 from him. Toyonoshima I can see doing OK from this rank, but just OK. 8-7 or 9-6 max. At M3 Aminishiki might do OK. It really depends on how healthy he is KK if healthy, 7-8 or 6-9 if not. Wakakoyu is a bit out of his league here. 7-8 if he focuses INCREDIBLY hard.
Next up is Okinoumi… not sure how he kept his rank with that makekoshi, however, to be fair, he did improve a lot, and he had some great bouts. I’ll give him a KK this go ’round. Takekaze might hang in, it’s tough to read the Man from Moriyoshi. I’ll just have to wait and see, but I’ll venture a 7-8 for now. Brazilian Kaisei at M5 looking to tear things up after his record tying 9-0 start last basho. KK for this guy at least.
Other guys I’d look at to have good showings this basho (mostly due to under-ranking) are Tochiozan (m8), Aran (m6), Homasho (m9), and Kitataiki (m10). Lady-Gaga could do OK from m7, but given the way he looked last basho I think he’ll need to have lost a few kilos and worked on his mobility issues.
Now on to the newbies. Lots of guys with decent game coming up from juryo this time. In fact from M10 down is a veritable juryo pow-wow. I’d think that Takarafuji, Daido, and Fujiazuma are good for KK. Takayasu is a bit of an X factor. It may or may not happen. It all depends on his state of mind.
There is an interesting situation down in juryo, and by that I mean a shit show. 2 guys with makekoshi made it up, and there are some guys up there who probably shouldn’t be.
I’d put my KK dollars (much weaker than the KK yen right now) on Masunoyama, Yoshiazuma, Matsutani, Aoiyama, Sotairyu, Akiseyama, Kanbayashi, Myogiryu, and possibly Chiyonokuni, Shironoryu, and Tsurugidake. There is no one else that I would bet on. That could be because of my lack of employment, and therefore lack of money, but I think it has more to do with their actual prospects.