Mid-Kyushu Basho Review – Wakaichiro and Other Lower-Division Sumo Wrestlers

Almost halfway done with the Kyushu Basho 2018!  Of course, the biggest story has been Kisenosato.  After starting 0-4, the yokozuna pulled out of the basho.  Will he return in 2019?  Most signs seem to point towards yes, but only time will tell.

I think the more interesting story, however, is that seven days have passed and we still do not have a clear front-runner for the yusho (first-place).  Takakeisho is looking the best.  He usually has a cold start and warms up at the end, but, after having such a hot start, does he have it in him to finish well?  After Takakeisho, I can count at least six other rikishi (sumo wrestlers) that can give him a run for his money: Takayasu, Chiyotairyu, Tochiozan, Abi, Daieisho, and Onosho.  Of course, I think that Takayasu has the best chance of catching Takakeisho, but I really could see any of these others grabbing the yusho.

Although Musashikuni was injured for this basho, there has been a lot of exciting action for North Americans.  Wakaichiro is single-handedly representing the continent.  Below, I summarize his performance.  Afterwards, I also highlight the performance of a few other lower-division rikishi.  If you’d like to see anything else about this basho, please contact me at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com.  Also, don’t forget to follow @NorthAmericanS5 on Twitter for real-time updates of the basho.


Wakaichiro Ken

Wakaichiro has had a lukewarm start to the basho, going 1-2 in his first three matches.  I am a little surprised by this, as Wakaichiro has shown that he is above the jonidan division in prior bashos.  While he isn’t strong in the sandanme division yet, I thought he would have no problem getting a winning record when dropping down to jonidan.  He still has a chance to win three of his next four matches to get the kachi-koshi, and I’m sure all North American sumo fans will be rooting for him.

Name

Rank

Current Record

Result

Method

Miyakogawa
Hiromitsu

4 West

1-2

Win!

Tsukidashi

Fujisato
Kosaku

3 West

3-0

Loss

Yorikiri

Tochimitsuru
Sho

6 East

2-1

Loss

Oshidashi

Wakaichiro Ken Match 1

Wakaichiro Kyushu Basho 2018 Match 1

Wakaichiro Ken Match 2

Wakaichiro Kyushu Basho 2018 Match 2

Wakaichiro Ken Match 3

Wakaichiro Kyushu Basho 2018 Match 3

I am really happy that Wakaichiro seems to be getting back to his basics.  In each match, Wakaichiro tried to secure firm footing, make direct offensive maneuvers, and position himself for the win.  In the first match above, this strategy got him the quick and easy victory.  A wonderful start for the Kyushu Basho 2018!

In the second and third matches, Wakaichiro got the slower start than both of his opponents.  This forced him to start on the defensive and allowed his opponents to position themselves in their preferred offensive styles.  I thought Wakaichiro put up a good fight from a tough position in the second match – he had a chance to come back.  In the third match, Tochimitsuru was simply too aggressive and quick for Wakaichiro to do much of anything.

I think Wakaichiro can bounce back from his 1-2 start.  I originally predicted that he would have a 5-2 record.  If I could, I would revise my prediction to 4-3.  Nevertheless, I am glad to see Wakaichiro working to refine his sumo basics.  As a side note, I hope he is healthy.  He has bandages on both knees, both hands, both big toes, one ankle, and one elbow.  He is starting to resemble a mummy!


Other Rikishi

In the Aki Basho 2018, I had my eye on the returning Ura.  He is looking even stronger in this basho, posting a 3-0 start.  Can he get the yusho and obtain the promotion to makushita?  I think so.

I also had my eye on Hoshoryu.  He started his sumo career going 19-2, but then he went 4-3 in the Aki basho.  This was his first basho in the makushita division, which is a common plateau for many rikishi.  Well, it looks like he has learned a lot in two months, as he has started this basho going 3-0.  Let’s see if he can hold on, as he also started the Aki basho also going 3-0.

In this basho, I’ve also been watching Gagamaru.  I am curious to see whether he can return to juryo.  He has many holes in his style, but he is somehow at 2-2.

The most exciting rikishi in any division is Enho.  He is simply a joy to watch every single time.  I love his skillset, and he is able to turn any match into a nail biter.  He is currently leading the juryo division.  I would love to see him get promoted to makuuchi, but I am curious if he could cut it in the top division.

I’ve also loved watching Aminishiki.  The old man usually wins with his skill and slyness.  However, he has shown that he still has some strength left in the tank during this basho.  I would also love for him to get a kachi-koshi and return to the makuuchi division.

Lastly, here are some other lower-division names to watch: Tsukahara, Tsushida, Fukazawa, and Kotakiyama.

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