[sumo] What's Next?

Scott M. Kahn smk1 at columbia.edu
Mon Apr 6 15:07:15 EDT 2009


Assuming the drug testing policy the Kyokai adopts has no fallout,
then here are my thoughts-

1.  Will Asa come back - strong??  Or will we see him slowly give up
his dominance of the sport? And perhaps retire???

I think his elbow was severely bothering him.  If I'm correct,
considering the past two years, he probably can't afford time off
to undergo surgery to properly repair his elbow.  If that's the
case, then he may go all out some tournaments, but he'll protect
his elbow if he suffers losses early on in tournaments.

2.  Will Kisenosato redeem himself and move back up to sekiwake?  Or
is he due for a slide, at least for a while?

He'll eventually come back.  Whether he goes higher depends on what
happens when Chiyotaikai and Kaio retire, and eventually,
Kotomitsuki (who has stagnated).  If Asashoryu also retires, that
opens up 3-4 extra wins for the current top rankers unless a new
star bursts upon the scene.  I like how Homasho has come back,

3.  Will Goeido - along with Kise - the two hopes for the future
-move/stay into sanyaku this next tournament or will they hold
Goeido back and see if he stays strong then move him in July.

Goeido stays.  Kise jumps around.

4.  WHAT WILL KAIOU DO?  Even the vernacular press is starting to
ask if it isn't time to go.  Not just the foreigner fans.  I
think/agree he wants to hang in and retire in/after Fukuoka in
November.  But the pressure may get to be too much.  Certainly the
body is visibly failing.

If Chiyotaikai retires during or after the next tournament, this
eliminates a win for Kaio from the secret Ozeki club.  This would
make it difficult for Kaio to achieve kachi-koshi if another Ozeki
or two are in the yusho chase.  I think he retires by the end of
the year unless one of the Yokozuna are injured.

5.  Same applies to Chiyo.  Can he come back?  There's got to be
some soul searching going on at the heya these days about his
future. Remember his Shisyo (master) is Chiyonofuji (Kokonoe) who
brooks no silliness or slacking.  Hmmmmmm?  BUT, he's the highest
ranking Kokonoe beya rikishi and Kokonoe may want to keep him going
for a while yet.

No matter how much you like him, Chiyotaikai's last tournament was
abysmal and embarassing.

He'll likely be facing the following rikishi-

Kyokutenho  3-1 since 2008
Kisenosato 3-5 since 2008
Takekaze  0-2 since 2008
Aminishiki  3-3 since 2008
Homasho  2-2 lifetime
Tochiozan  0-1 lifetime
Kakuryu  2-2 since 2008
Goeido  2-2, and 1 fusen lifetime
Baruto  2-4 since 2008
Kaio  3-3 since 2008
Kotomitsuki  2-4 since 2008
Harumafuji  0-8 since 2008
Kotooshu  1-5 since 2008
Asashoryu 1-3 since 2008
Hakuho  1-6 since 2008

There is a pretty formidable force at the top this coming tournament
with the return of many competitive rikishi to Sanyaku and the top
Maegashira slots.  My predicted banzuke lacks the usual elevator
rikishi.  Harumafuji and Hakuho won't give him a pass, and if
Asashoryu is in the hunt, neither will he.  Chiyotaikai will have
to win 8 of his remaining 12 matches to go kachi-koshi.  Under
normal conditions, I would say this is going to be a task, but in
the world of sumo, the first five days will tell.  If he doesn't go
4-1 in the first five days, I think he will go make-koshi.


6.  Is this the beginning of the Hakuho era - much as Taiho,
Chiyonofuji and Takanohana started???  Has he got it all together
and now just gets smoother and better?  Gonna be a lot of fun this
year and LOTS of changes coming, I think.

Hakuho appears to have put on weight and my concern is injuries to
his leg.  Aside from Asashoryu, only Harumafuji gives Hakuho a run
for his money, with the occasional upset from other rikishi. 
Hakuho should have an extended run of 13-2 + records for the near
future.

7.  Then there's Baruto.  He looks increasingly like a strong
candidate for Ozeki maybe late this year.  His sumo is getting
better and he's already strong as an ox.  He just has to figure out
how to deal with guys who are a lot shorter than he is.  Get lower
at the tachiai and plow forward seems to be the answer.  We'll see.

Baruto's got to be one of the kindest rikishi on the dohyo.  He
seems locked into a style that will keep him competitive like
Wakanosato was for a long time.  I think he has to wait for 3 Ozeki
to retire before he can move up.  And, he has to keep his knees
healthy.  I'm waiting for him to win by an outer-top grip pull
where the opponent is turned upside down and head over heels.  If
he could develop a style that prevents his opponents from getting
inside, he'd be even more intimidating.

8.  And LAST - really - of all:  Who is gonna be the next Yokozuna
candidate?

YMY if he can keep his mawashi on.


Sukubidubidu

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