[sumo] Upcoming Basho Could Be Fascinating - John Gunning
brownro214 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 16 12:42:16 EDT 2020
Former meaning they were previously ozeki and are not now ozeki, then the
two yokozuna are also former ozeki.
On Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 11:47 AM Emmett Wayne <eswayne2009 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> John's article brings up an interesting point. I would think that this
> would be the first time in history that 4 former Ozeki's were competing in
> the Makuuchi division at the same time.
> On Thursday, July 16, 2020, 10:32:33 AM CDT, Jeffrey Anderson <
> jpaitv at gmail.com> wrote:
> Since it's the Japan Times....
> Upcoming July Basho could be fascinating, unpredictable affair
> Newly promoted ozeki Asanoyama (right) practices at the Takasago stable on
> July 9. | JSA / VIA KYODO
> BY JOHN GUNNING <https://www.japantimes.co.jp/author/john-gunning/>
> CONTRIBUTING WRITER
> - JUL 16, 2020
> ARTICLE HISTORY
> - PRINT
> - SHARE <http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300&pubid=jtimes>
> One of the more unusual tournaments of recent times gets underway in Tokyo
> on Sunday.
> Sumo returns to the capital for the first time since January, with the
> intervening six months having seen a spectator-less *basho *in Osaka, a
> canceled tournament in May and a long period of enforced restriction on
> wrestlers' training and movements.
> Add to all that the coronavirus related death of 28-year-old veteran
> Shobushi, and it’s hard to know just what kind of physical or mental
> condition *rikishi *will be in when things kick off at the Kokugikan on
> July 19.
> In terms of the former, it’s almost certain men like Mitakeumi, Onosho and
> Tamawashi, who train in stables that lack wrestlers of a similar standard,
> won’t be fully match-fit at the start of the July meet.
> *Degeiko *(going to other stables to train with tough opponents) has long
> been a major part of pre-tournament preparation in sumo, and when it hasn’t
> been possible rikishi have suffered.
> Those in stables with numerous *sekitori *(wrestlers in the top two
> divisions) undoubtedly will have a sharpness advantage in the early days of
> the upcoming tournament.
> That’s not something that should persist, however. Most of the top
> division is made up of people on the right side of 30, so bouncing back
> quickly and working themselves into shape likely won’t be too much of a
> problem. By the halfway point, everyone should be up to speed.
> Of course, while a tournament can’t be won in the first week, it most
> certainly can be lost. Wrestlers who struggle to shut out distractions
> could find this tournament particularly tough.
> The strangeness of a silent arena in Osaka clearly affected performances
> in the early going there, and it’s easy to imagine that a small audience
> not allowed to shout or cheer will have a similarly discombobulating effect
> this month.
> When it comes to the championship race, veterans with previous experience
> of long layoffs, and in stables with strong opponents, should have an edge.
> The two *yokozuna *obviously spring to mind.
> Hakuho of course has history on his side, with the Miyagino stable veteran
> winning the tournaments that came either side of the canceled March 2011
> meet. While he isn’t the all-conquering force he was a decade ago, sumo’s
> greatest wrestler has to be considered the favorite heading into the July
> Kakuryu, at the time a *komusubi*, finished runner-up in May 2011. The
> Ulaanbaatar native narrowly missed out on a ninth Emperor’s Cup last time
> out, losing a title-deciding bout to Hakuho on the final day of the March
> Now in the Michinoku stable, Kakuryu has up-and-coming Mongolian
> stablemate Kiribayama to train with daily. In an uncut training video
> released by the Japan Sumo Association last week, the yokozuna was in
> dominant form and could well emerge victorious this time out — even if
> Hakuho is healthy and remains in the tournament.
> Outside of the two yokozuna, most of the media attention will likely fall
> on newly promoted *ozeki *Asanoyama. The Kindai University graduate has
> kicked things up several notches over the past year and looks set to
> inherit sumo’s throne in the not too distant future
> Although he lacks top-level training partners and is the only man in the
> yokozuna or ozeki ranks who has never experienced a long layoff, Asanoyama
> has shown an ability to keep a cool head when under pressure, and has
> continuously improved his sumo since turning professional. The key for the
> Takasago stable man this time out is the same one needed to take the final
> step on the sumo ladder – namely dominance against lower rankers.
> To win a second title and put himself on the path to yokozuna, Asanoyama
> has to stop dropping bouts to rikishi like Abi and Yutakayama on a regular
> basis. Losses to Hakuho and Kakuryu will happen, but those need to become
> title deciding matchups, not fights with nothing at stake for the new ozeki.
> While the main focus for the July tournament rightly falls on those at the
> top of the ranking, the lower half of the *makuuchi *division this time
> out is fascinating. Four former ozeki (Terunofuji, Kotoshogiku, Takayasu
> and Tochinoshin) will be battling it out with rapidly rising Sadogatake
> stable youngsters Kotonowaka and Kotoshoho. If one of them catches fire we
> could see a fourth rank and filer lift the Emperor’s Cup in the space of
> two years, after just one in the previous 17.
> Terunofuji, back in the top tier after falling all the way down to the
> second-lowest division seems like the best dark horse candidate for the
> title. The Mongolian veteran won’t fear anyone he could be matched up with
> over the first ten days. Having already experienced life as an ozeki, and
> with a championship to his name, the pressure won’t be a factor either.
> Best regards,
> Jeffrey Anderson
> For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
> The saddest are these:
> It might have been.
> - John Greenleaf Whittier
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