Nagoya Basho 2018 Results – Itadaki Sennosuke

Itadaki Sennosuke only has an indirect relation to Canada (his father is Canadian), but his relation is probably closer than any other rikishi (sumo wrestler) that competed in the Nagoya Basho 2018 (July Basho 2018).  Below is a brief review of his performance along with some information about Itadaki.  If you know of any other North American sumo wrestlers that we missed, or have any suggestions on how to improve our write-ups, please contact us at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com.  I would like to give a special thanks to Reddit.com/r/sumo poster, Asashosakari, who pointed out Itadaki’s relation to North America and suggested the write-up of his performance.  Thanks!


Itadaki Sennosuke participated in his 50th basho, which was his 25th appearance in the Sandanme division (fourth highest division).  Unfortunately, this was his worst performance in over two years.  Itadaki had a make-koshi (more losses than wins) with a 2-5 record.  He hadn’t recorded five losses in the Sandanme division since the Natsu Basho (May Basho) of 2016.  What a bummer!

Itadaki hasn’t set any speed records with his progress up the divisions.  Starting his career in 2010, it took him a year to firmly leave the Jonokuchi division (lowest), and then it took him two years to leave the Jonidan division (fifth highest).  Once he reached the Sandanme division (fourth highest), it seemed he had it all together.  He strung together four kachi-koshi (more wins than losses) in a row, reaching the 20th rank in the division.  Sadly, an injury derailed his progress, as he then seemed to languish in the Sandanme division for two and a half years without consistently going up or down.

Somewhat surprisingly, things have started to click for Itadaki again in the past two years.  He again stringed together a few kachi-koshi in the end of 2016 / beginning of 2017 to finally reach the Makushita division (third highest).  He has come very close a few times, but he has yet to achieve a kachi-koshi in the Makushita division.  This causes him to continuously shift between the Makushita and the Sandanme divisions.

For the current basho (Nagoya Basho 2018), he was ranked 8th (west) in the Sandanme division.  His 2-5 performance will cause him to drop quite a few spots, perhaps reaching his lowest ranking in two years.  I don’t think this will derail his progress, however.  Itadaki has shown that he is an extremely persistent rikishi, whether battling through injury, remaining determined without much progress, or having a bad basho.  I’m not saying that he will bounce back with a 7-0 performance…but he will bounce back.

Below is a summary of his performance at Nagoya Basho 2018.

Opponent

Ranking

Final Record

Result

Method

Baraki Genki

8 East

1-6

Win!

Yoritaoshi

Inoue Tomohiro

7 East

4-3

Loss

Oshidashi

Sadanosato Gosuke

7 West

4-3

Loss

Uwatenage

Kotootori Toshifumi

9 East

2-5

Loss

Okuridashi

Kotoseigo Masaki

11 East

2-5

Win!

Sukuinage

Aozora Daichi

5 East

4-3

Loss

Okuridashi

Aokishin Miki

10 West

3-4

Loss

Watashikomi

A video clip of Itadaki’s matches against Kotootori and Aokishin can be found here and here, respectively.

I chose these two clips because they were matches that Itadaki should have won.  Kotootori is among the older active rikishi, debuting in 1999.  He certainly isn’t a pushover, but he hasn’t been promoted to Makushita in four years.  As someone who has been going back and forth between Sandanme and Makushita, Itadaki should have been able to put Kotootori away…as five other rikishi were able to do.  From watching the clip, it seems that Itadaki never got his grip and allowed himself to get a little flatfooted.  This allowed Kotootori to push him towards the shobu-dawara (circle edge), and, when Itadaki went for the hip toss, his center of gravity wasn’t low enough for it to be effective.  Kotootori easily avoided the toss and finished the match.  In my opinion, this was more of Itadaki losing the match rather than Kotootori winning.

Likewise, Aokishin is a very skilled rikishi, who has been primarily competing in the Makushita division for the past four years; however, he has been in a slump for the past year, posting only one kachi-koshi in the past six basho.  While Aokishin was certainly “punching up” for Itadaki, it could have been a good win.  From watching the clip, Itadaki had a good grip and positioning, but, when he went for his move, he was unable to explode quickly and rotate his hips enough to effectively execute the toss.  Aokishin grabbed the outside knee, which caused Itadaki to lose his balance and lose the match.  Quite a skillful move by Aokishin, and it seems to have been the opportunity he was looking for all along.  While a better effort than his match against Kotootori, I felt that Itadaki should have been able to beat Aokishin.

Itadaki did win some matches that he was supposed to win, however.  He beat Baraki, who is a mid-level Sandanme rikishi that had a bad showing, and he beat Kotoseigo, who…has a very odd career and also had a bad showing.  Itadaki also lost a match that he was supposed to lose.  Aozora is a solid Makushita rikishi, who is under-ranked due to recently setting out a basho and then having a 2-5 performance.  Lastly, his matches against Inoue and Sadanosato could have gone either way, as both rikishi are Sandanme-level wrestlers who have been recently promoted to Makushita.  Typically, Itadaki wins at least one of these matches, but not during this basho.

Itadaki will drop many ranks after this performance, but he has shown that his talent level (as of now) is within the low-Makushita to high-Sandanme range.  If his rank drops to around 30 (as it probably will), I have no doubt that he can produce a 5-2 performance to bounce right back.  Another kachi-koshi would then put him right back into the Makushita division.

References used for the write-up of Itadaki Sennosuke can be found here.

As a side note, SumoDB, while an absolutely amazing website, has Itadaki’s weight listed very incorrectly.  He is listed at 114 kg (251 lbs), whereas he weighed in at 132 kg (291 lbs) during this basho.  The discrepancy is probably because his weight has not been updated on SumoDB in five years…which is understandable.

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