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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.

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Ngozi T. Robinson
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Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho's banzuke.


Nagoya Basho Wrap-Up

by Lon Howard

only after blowing up that ‘last’ chance right from shonichi?  Why should Wakanosato also be written off as an ozeki candidate, after posting 11-4? Well, he’s never had more than 11 wins anywhere in makuuchi, has not had a winning record in sanyaku since last November, and when suddenly tied for the lead on day 12, stiffened like piling against a loosey-goosey Kotomitsuki, now freed from the burden of his own ozeki quest. His 11-4 flash was just that, when you consider he must do it twice more to have his name even whispered for promotion. Both men are 29 and counting, and there have only been two ozeki in the past 47 years who were older than that when first promoted (Kirishima and Masuiyama II). Yes, I’ll continue to admire their sumo when it’s excellent, but it won’t be hard remaining sober while doing so.

Then there’s Miyabiyama. Though expectations for him were more muted, I thought he might still defend sanyaku, especially after three straight 9-6 outings at sekiwake just last year – but no more. His last three basho have been duds, culminating with Nagoya’s 7-win clunker at komusubi, including a fusen-sho win over Chiyotaikai. The brisk tsuki-oshi attacks which carried him through that sekiwake

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Each fan takes his or her own special something from any given basho and for this writer, in Nagoya, it wasn’t that senshuraku actually meant something for a change, though it was refreshing and desperately needed. No – what I will remember Nagoya ’05 for are the six rikishi I just wrote off after it was all over. These are men some of us hoped might still accomplish something further, not ones like Chiyotaikai, Tochinonada and Takamisakari, who we’ve known for some time, have shown us all they can. 

As early as day 2, Asashoryu revealed he might be vulnerable, as he committed two uncharacteristic errors against Roho while winning anyway. It finally caught up with him, as he lost twice but took home the Emperor’s Cup again by coming through at the end against Kaio and Tochiazuma when it counted. Five straight yusho and counting – only three losses this year and possibly counting.   

For many fans the most compelling story in makuuchi was the parade of injured

rikishi who couldn’t post a complete basho – ten in all – easily the most since kosho was abolished two years ago. It threw the basho onto another track, sidelining three joi jin including ozeki Chiyotaikai (3-6-6) and sekiwake Hakuho (6-3-6). Hakuho was having another splendid outing but Chiyotaikai’s strategy was mystifying. In May, the hobbled ozeki effectively used inventive slip-sliding sumo to fight off kadoban, but this time in even worse condition, he curiously reprised his signature tsuppari, sending himself reeling instead of his opponents. His eighth kadoban at Aki will set a record, and one wonders what sort of torikumi he will employ.     

So which six guys are off my watch list? Let’s start with Kotomitsuki and Wakanosato.  They both added to the same resume – if a brass ring beckons, their eyes grow large and their minds go vacant. Kotomitsuki himself said before the basho this was his last shot at ozeki. If that’s what he believed then, who would argue with him now, after spurting to a 7-8 record in the last few days

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