I’ve been watching Homasho carefully this basho, and I am beginning to wonder if this is a rikishi with a future. Here at Sumo and Stogies, we make picks for Rikishi on the Bubble. Usually these are rank and filers who we expect to see make it to Juryo and Makuuchi. Today, I am going to choose Homasho as my Rikishi on the Bubble: I think he’s got a better chance than any of the other Japanese hopefuls for being the next Ozeki. There are other Japanese hopefuls who I consider to be better than Homasho (the Hype and the Geek, to name two), but I feel that those fellows have peaked a bit, whereas Homasho is still developing. Here are some of the things I am thinking about:
• He has growing confidence in his tachiais.
• Over the last year, he has shown himself to be a consistently strong rikishi when he is ranked below M4 (or so).
• He isn’t a one trick pony – he wins with a variety of winning techniques. Besides his three main techniques of yorikiri, oshidashi, and yoritaoshi, his variety of other winning techniques is impressively high (with a bunch 6%s in there). This is much more similar to the winning technique portfolio of the Hype (who is strong by technique, but perhaps limited by his build) than it is to that of Kotooshu (who is strong by build, but definitely limited by his technique).
• He strikes me as being capable of improvement, whereas I some of the other Japanese hopefuls seem limited by their build.
• Homasho has a more powerful build than a lot of the other Japanese hopefuls.
• He entered Sumo out of college instead of out of junior high school. I don’t quite now if this is a good thing or a bad thing. But to my thinking, he is likely to have a more flexible mind. I think that going into the extreme hierarchy of the Sumo world directly out of junior high school would prevent the development of some capacity for self-determination (just a hunch… but…). Also, I think that this fact offsets his age (he is older than a lot of the other Japanese hopefuls).
Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts on this in the comments.