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Photo Bonanza
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July Basho Review
Lon Howard & John Gunning
Lon gives us his Nagoya Basho summary and his take on upset of the tournament while John chips in with his ‘gem’ of the basho.

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila takes a break and Eric Blair covers the lower divisions in his own ‘unique’ way.

Aki Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton
Pierre predicts the Aki Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch next time out.

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Gyoji goings on and several things you never knew about the ones officiating.

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through his 2 chosen kimarite.

John McTague
John's unique view of news from outside the dohyo.

Boletín de Sumo en Español
Eduardo de Paz Gútiez
An article on sumo’s very first fan mag – Boletin de Sumo en Espanol

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Jezz Sterling
Hear from the founder of Bench Sumo of one of sumo's most popular games.

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Todd’s focus on 3 of the most interesting online sumo sites today.

Fan Debate
Henka – good, bad or ugly? See what our debaters think.

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan – the Petros Zachos story.

Ngozi on the Road
Ngozi T. Robinson
NTR visits an amasumo event in the north-east U.S. and tells us what it was like.

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho's banzuke.


Aki Banzuke Prediction

by Pierre Wohlleben

Roho and Hakurozan will likely be ranked very close to each other on the banzuke for the first time since they joined Ozumo three years ago.

Entering/returning makuuchi this time will be Tokitsuumi, Wakatoba and Kasugao, all of whom posted double-digit wins in juryo last time. The final two spots in the division are rather nebulous as Toyonoshima (6-9 at M16w), veteran Tochinonada (0-2-13 due to an untimely injury at M6w), and Shimotori (9-6 at J4e) are all in the running for them. I’ve decided to go with Shimotori and Tochinonada in my prediction, but Toyonoshima may very well hold on to his rank.

Definitely taking the elevator ride down to juryo this basho will be newcomer Katayama whose sophomore basho wasn’t nearly as successful as his debut in May. He is joined by Buyuzan, who continues a slow slide down the banzuke, and Tamakasuga, another victim of an injury early in the basho that left him with no wins and a big demotion out of makuuchi (for the second time in his career, no less). They are met by the usual assortment of former makuuchi rikishi on the way up and perhaps back into the top division. Assuming my prediction is somewhat correct, only three of the top 15 juryo rikishi this basho will not have any makuuchi experience.

Next Home

Another basho, another banzuke prediction, and as always I will highlight a few interesting facts about the (probable) new rankings. Full guess for makuuchi and juryo.

To nobody’s surprise, Asashoryu continues to dominate sumo, and consequently occupies the sole yokozuna spot once again. Tochiazuma was the highest-ranking ozeki for only the third time in Nagoya, and just like the first two times he failed to defend the position, dropping to ozeki west with his 9-6 record. Kaio’s not-too-spectacular 10-5 nets him the ozeki east rank for the 17th time in his career; he has been the highest ozeki more than half the time in his 5-year tenure. Chiyotaikai was clearly hampered by his accumulated injuries in July and had to pull out of the basho on day 9. He finds himself kadoban for the 8th time, a new, unenviable record in sumo.

Sekiwake and widely-expected future ozeki Hakuho fell victim to the injury bug on the same day, going kyujo with an injured ankle. He’ll be a maegashira for the first time this year. Taking his spot as the east sekiwake will be Kotooshu, another rikishi often named as a future ozeki, whose 12-3 jun-yusho in

July may have been the breakout basho many expected from him at some point in 2005. If he is able to follow up with two similarly strong outings, we may even see an ozeki promotion before year’s end.

Former college yokozuna Futeno will be making his sanyaku debut at komusubi east, thanks to a Nagoya performance that almost nobody even thought possible. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up the quality of his sumo, or if last basho was a fluke. The Aki Basho sanyaku is rounded out by perennial sekiwake Wakanosato who came back from a half-year slump with a convincing 11-4 record, and Kotomitsuki, whose ozeki run came to a screeching halt with a 7-8 at sekiwake west.

As is customary of late, the upper maegashira ranks feature a lot of familiar faces. Just outside of the meatgrinder, however, things get a little interesting. Aminishiki will return to the top competition after a year and a half spent mostly fighting just to stay in makuuchi, while Kotoshogiku is new to the scene. A bit further down, Tokitenku will also be at his highest rank. And while we’re on the subject of foreigners, the Russian brothers

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