The Aki Basho 2019 is already here! I could barely believe that the time has come around already when I saw people discussing it on Twitter. Where did August go?
There are a lot of exciting storylines for this basho. All eyes will be on the two yokozuna, Kakuryu and Hakuho. Will Kakuryu be able to repeat his performance from Nagoya? Or will Hakuho get his revenge? I genuinely don’t know who’d I would put my money on. Fan favorites of Takakeisho, Mitakeumi, Abi, and Enho will be competing too. Don’t forget to watch their matches!
Three of the four newcomers to juryo stayed in the division, and each are very fun to watch. These are Ichiyamamoto, Kizakiumi, and Kotonowaka. Even further below, there are Hoshoryu, Akiseyama, Roga, and Terunofuji. Roga still has an overall record of 24-4. Quite amazing for the newcomer!
Of course, readers will be watching the performances of 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 Aki Basho 2019. As always, please email us at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com if you have any questions, comments, or article requests!
Musashikuni Mamu and the Aki Basho 2019
Author edit: On September 7th, it was announced that Musashikuni sat out his first match. Things must be really rough for him if he is unable to compete at such a low rank 😦
Musashikuni’s rank has been in a little bit of a free fall recently; he is now closely ranked with Wakaichirō. Unfortunately, this is because he is injured. Last basho, he put up a 1-2 record before having to bow out entirely. This has dropped him down quite low for himself – sandanme 38 west.
My analysis for Musashikuni will be short and sweet: he needs to get healthy. At this rank, he could easily get a 5-2 record and maybe even a 6-1 or 7-0 performance. . .if he is healthy. It is hard to tell which Musashikuni will appear at the Aki Basho – the dominating giant or the injured warrior. Nevertheless, I predict that he will get a 5-2 performance.
Wakaichirō Ken in the Aki Basho 2019
Wakaichirō had perhaps his best performance ever in the Nagoya Basho 2019. He was ranked quite high for himself, sandanme 85 west, and he was able to pull out the kachi-koshi. This allowed him to fulfill his New Year’s goal – get a kachi-koshi in the sandanme division! He should be very pleased in himself, and I am curious about his current short-term goal. Maybe reach makushita?
To keep moving on up, Wakaichirō needs to stay strong, firm, and healthy. He has a thrusting style. In his best wins, he gets a low center of gravity and pushes steadily for the win. Below are two examples from the Nagoya Basho 2019:
This approach relies a lot on brute strength and health. If his opponent is massive, there is often little that Wakaichirō can do to budge him. If Wakaichirō is injured and can’t give it 100 percent, then there is little that he can do to budge even average rikishi. Nevertheless, this approach seems to be working out for Wakaichirō so far – as it has worked out for many rikishi in the upper ranks.
On the other hand, in Wakaichirō’s losses, he extends too far and his opponents are able to counter with a sidestep or toss. To prevent losses, he must rely on being steady and firm. Here is an example of Wakaichirō losing from this error in the Nagoya Basho 2019:
Of course, for Wakaichirō to generate power in his thrusts, he must move his feet. At the same time, this can create some unsteadiness. Thrusters who make it to the top division find the perfect balance between the two, strength and steadiness, and I am sure that Wakaichirō will find the balance one day too.
It will be tough for Wakaichirō to get the kachi-koshi at this ranking – his highest ever. Nevertheless, I always bet on Wakaichirō, and I predict that he will get a 4-3 record. Keep moving on up, Wakaichirō!