Movin’ On Up… To The East Side

We have quite a few promotions to talk about today.  First, and most talked about, is the official promotion of Kotoshogiku to ozeki, and issues related to that.  After which I’ll go over the new Juryo promotions, and some speculation about Makuuchi promotions.  So like I said, let’s get going here with the Geek, and his expectations for Kyushu.

Wednesday September 28th, Kotoshogiku was officially given the big fish by Minezaki(M2 Misugiiso) and Nishonoseki(S Kongo) Oyakatas.  Now let’s get down to brass tacks.  Besides the rank, what does becoming an ozeki entail?  Well, basically it’s a salary bump, and a more secure rank.  There are some other perks (mostly related to retirement and kyokai stuff), but we won’t bother with those right now.

As we all probably know if an ozeki gets a makekoshi he is considered “kadoban” (on probation), which means he has one more basho to pull his shit together and get 8 wins, or he gets demoted.  If demoted he can regain the rank by picking up 10 wins in the next tournament, after that he’s gotta do the whole 33 wins over 3 basho thing again.  The last Ozeki to be demoted was Chiyotaikai, and only 3 rikishi have fought back to Ozeki after demotion in the past 20 years.  Tochiazuma back in 2005, and Musoyama and Takanonami back in 2000.

The other points I want to cover are the ozeki debut jitters, and hometown advantage.  First, you’ll hear from all the commentators that “rikishi are prone to have a crappy debut basho” or something like that.  Well, luckily, you’ve got us here to crunch the numbers for you.  Here’s what we found:

Looking at the debut basho of the past 20 ozeki (including yokozuna) the average number of wins is 8.75.  Which is still a kachikoshi.  Let it also be said that of those 20, only 4 were under kachikoshi, and of those 4, 3 were due to injury.  The one poor guy with just a crappy basho was Miyabiyama to the tune of 6-9.

Let us extrapolate further and discount kyujo debuts.  That takes our average up to 9.75.  (To be fair the guy who kept it under 10 was Musoyama with the 4-11 that kicked him back to sekiwake, after which he got the 10-5 required to get the rank back.)  The median was 9, with the lowest being 4-11, the highest 14-1 (Hakuho), and 50% were 10 wins or more (55% if we only look at non kyujo debuts.)

So I wouldn’t say there is any real evidence to expect a sub-par performance.  That being said, there is no evidence to expect a wonderful performance.  Really, we can expect 10, which is an average performance.  Which is exactly what one would expect to find.

There is also the “hometown” advantage tradition.  I won’t waste your time (or mine) going through the numbers for the normal Joe-Rikishi.  Let’s look at the Geek’s record at non-Tokyo bashos, through the KK-MK glasses.  Nagoya 6-4, Osaka 7-2, Kyushu 7-2.  So we can say that he doesn’t tend to do better in Kyushu, rather he just does worse in Osaka.  However, things may change now that Kaio is gone, and the Geek has the whole crowd behind him.

So what does all this mean for The Geek’s debut basho.  Nothing much.  But it’s a nothing much that’s worth knowing.  The percentages are against Geeku getting a makekoshi, and they are also against him a 13-2 junyusho.  Additionally, I would say that the amount of pressure that is on him will be canceled out by whatever bonus the “hometown advantage” provides, especially when you take into account how the other ozeki have been performing.  Which amounts to what?  10 wins.  A standard ozeki performance.  Then again, they are just numbers, and the Geek is no computer.  He could choke, or he could yusho, and there-in lies the whole reason to watch in the first place.

Let’s move on to the new Sekitori.  3 newbies, and 1 old hand.  They are:

Tokushoryu (Kitanoumi-beya) 5-2 Ms1e  25yrs.  181cm  158kg.  Nara
Ikioi (Isenoumi-beya) 5-2 Ms3e  24yrs.  191cm  131.3kg. Osaka.
Asahisho (Oshima-beya) 7-0 yusho  Ms12w  22yrs.  172cm 119.3kg.  Chiba.


Oiwato (former Kanbayashi, Hakkaku-beya)  5-2 Ms1w 30yrs.  177.5 cm 133.7 kg.   Yamagata.  5th trip up to juryo(11 basho), with only 2 kachikoshi out of those 11 (both 8-7).

*SPECULATION TIME*  This means 4 gentlemen will be going down to makushita.  Most likely Kaonishiki, Hishofuji, Hitenryu, and Hamanishiki.  Takanoyama and Hochiyama are going back down to juryo for sure, probably Tosayutaka and Tamaasuka will join them.  Kimurayama and Yoshiazuma will luck out.  So we’re looking at Myogiryu and Takarafuji up in makuuchi for sure, with strong possibilities for Matsutani and Aoiyama.

Well, sumo fans.  Check back for Valentine’s Aki Basho top 10, and keep checking in between now and the banzuke release for more sumo news, keiko reports, whisky and cigar reviews, and further developments in Briton-Meyer’s crux/pocket theory.

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