Preview of North American Sumo Wrestlers in the Nagoya Basho 2019 – Musashikuni and Wakaichirō

Time really flies, doesn’t it?  It seems like the Natsu Basho 2019 just ended,  and we are already at the Nagoya Basho 2019.  That also means that summer is going by in the blink of an eye. . .I need to enjoy the summer while it is still here, and how better to do it than with sumo!

In makuuchi, all eyes will be on the san’yaku as well as Asanoyama.  Of course, any of them have a chance to win it all, but I think a lot of people will be paying extra close attention to Abi and Ryuden.  This is their first time as san’yaku, so let’s see how they can compete with the most elite.  At the bottom of makuuchi, we still have the most exciting rikishi alive today – Enho.  Let’s hope that he can get the kachi-koshi and remain in makuuchi for at least another basho.

I am very excited for juryo, and I am sure that everyone else is too.  We have two fan favorites, Gagamaru and Aminishiki, but we also have four newcomers to the division.  These are Ryuko (21 years; 16 basho), Ichiyamamoto (25 years; 16 basho), Kizakiumi (24 years; 9 basho), and Kotonowaka (21 years; 23 basho).  My personal favorite among these is Kizakiumi, as he seems to be on a rocket ship up the rankings; however, the other three are also very exciting to watch.  I really hope all of them have a stellar performance.

There is also a lot to watch in the lower divisions.  Everyone’s eyes will be on Hoshoryu (20 years; 11 basho).  He squeaked out another kachi-koshi at the end of the Natsu Basho 2019, but he was left behind in the makushita division by the four listed above.  Maybe this time he will get another kachi-koshi and find himself in juryo.

I could go on talking about others, but I will move on to Musashikuni and Wakaichirō.  Below is a chart of Musashikuni’s and Wakaichirō’s career progressions, and you can click here to open a full size version.  Even further below, I discuss expectations for Musashikuni and Wakaichirō in the Nagoya Basho 2019.  As always, please email us at if you have any questions, comments, or article requests!

Musashikuni and Wakaichiro Progression - Nagoya Basho 2019

Musashikuni Mamu and the Nagoya Basho 2019

Last basho, Musashikuni had a disappointing performance.  Ranked at makushita 49 east, it seemed that he would have no problem getting the kachi-koshi.  Nevertheless, he posted a 3-4 record, and he has fallen all the way back to sandanme.  I am sure that he is disappointed by the large drop.  It has been over a year since he was in sandanme, so let’s see whether it drives his passion to return to makushita or whether he shuts down.

So, what does Musashikuni need to do to return to makushita?  I usually like to provide gifs of my assessments, but the typical sources that provide makushita footage have been taken down due to copyright reasons.  Bummer!  If anyone knows of a different source, please let me know!

Anyways, last basho, Musashikuni generally had firm footing in his matches; however, he also found himself flat footed during his matches.  That is, he wasn’t mobile, and he wasn’t on the offensive during some of his bouts.  Instead, it seemed that he was letting his opponent move him around and dictate the match.  In one match, his opponent even stumbled at the beginning, and Musashikuni did not capitalize on the trip for the victory.  Instead, his opponent recovered from the mistake and tossed Musashikuni to the ground.  For Musashikuni to return to makushita, he needs to dictate his matches more and smell blood in the water.  That is, when he sees the opportunity for victory, he needs to take it!

I predict that Musashikuni will finish with a 5-2 record.  After three 3-4 performances in a row, I think he is very under-ranked.  While even a kachi-koshi is not guaranteed, I think he can get five victories in sandanme.

Wakaichirō Ken in the Nagoya Basho 2019

On the other hand, Wakaichirō had a great performance.  Ranked at jonidan 19 west, it also seemed that he would have no problem getting the kachi-koshi.  After a very rocky start, he put together five wins in a row, and he was promoted to sandanme!  I am also sure that he is happy with his promotion.  Wakaichirō’s new year’s goal was to get a kachi-koshi in sandanme.  Will he fulfill his goal at the Natsu Basho 2019?

To stay in sandanme, Wakaichirō needs to keep solid technique.  In jonidan, some of his victories come from his strength alone.  Once he gets to sandanme, most other rikishi can handle someone the size of Wakaichirō.  To keep climbing the ladder, he needs to rely on his skills rather than his size.

Fortunately, Wakaichirō is improving in this department.  Below are two very fine thrusting performances by Wakaichirō last basho, and I hope we see more matches like this in the Nagoya Basho 2019.

Wakaichiro Match 4 - Natsu Basho 2019

Wakaichiro Match 5 - Natsu Basho 2019

I predict that Wakaichirō’s goal will be fulfilled, and he will finish with a 4-3 record at the Nagoya Basho 2019.  And I will be cheering all the way for it!

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