Amateur Sumo – the sport as it should be
Mark Buckton
Sakai World Sumo Champs – not all about winning

Las Vegas Koen
Joe Kuroda
Our man reports from the fight capital of the world

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesterday with Kotozakura – our man for October

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John’s early morning dash to Azumazeki-beya & report on TKOTU

SFM Interview
Katrina Watts sits down with SFM’s Mark Buckton to discuss amateur sumo

Photo Bonanza
SFM’s best yet – Aki Basho/ Las Vegas / Amateur World Champs / Azumazeki-beya visit – seen nowhere else

Aki Basho Review
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Aki Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results, and his take on the tournament while ‘gem’ of the basho takes a break

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila returns to cover lower division ups and downs

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

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Discovers and explains amasumo & ozumo variations

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko once again walks us through his chosen kimarite

John McTague
John’s unique bimonthly view of news from outside the dohyo

Online Gaming
Zenjimoto of ‘game fame’ covers some of the very best sumo games around – his own!

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

Fan Debate
Is the limit on foreign rikishi fair? See what our debaters had to say

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh
In the first of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and chuckle at Benny Loh’s offerings

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Gernobono tells all

Readers’ Letters
See what SFM readers had to say since our last issue

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

Kyushu Banzuke Prediction

by Pierre Wohlleben
next time, as Bulgarian rising star Kotooshu goes for promotion to the exalted rank. Hopefully his nerves are stronger than those of his heya-mate Kotomitsuki, who has been in the same situation a couple of times already and joins him as sekiwake. The komusubi ranks are an all-Mongolian affair this basho with Kyokutenho and Hakuho who both exceeded expectations in September and deservedly return to sanyaku.

The high maegashira are again a familiar affair due to many small make-koshi, resulting in only minor shuffling of all the usual suspects. Perhaps a few too many small make-koshi, though, as there should be at least one hole at the very top of the maegashira ranks. Consequently, we'll probably be seeing the return of the unlamented banzuke elevator that moves rikishi completely out of proportion to their actual record (and usually into certain make-koshi). The lucky recipient this time around should be Hokutoriki who is very likely headed for west maegashira 1.

Two youngsters will be just below the meat grinder territory. Ama gets to ride the

Next Home
After a less than stellar prediction on my part the last time around, it's just as well that the banzuke guess for the Kyushu basho offers some of the harder puzzles in recent memory. Talk amongst "Guess The Banzuke" players has been that the current contest could see a high scoring variance and I'm inclined to agree, as there are plenty of ways to mess things up this time. Full guess for makuuchi and juryo.

Starting at the top as always, the familiar sight of one yokozuna and three ozeki awaits us. Finishing up his second year as the sole yokozuna, Asashoryu will go for several all-time records at once by trying to win a record seventh consecutive yusho and score at least 13 wins in the process.

Tochiazuma makes his second appearance of 2005 as the top-ranked ozeki, hoping to cap what has arguably been his best, or at least most steady, year since attaining the ozeki rank almost four years ago. Fellow veteran Chiyotaikai was widely predicted to go make-koshi and retire last month, but surprised almost
everybody by battling through his injuries and rediscovering the powerful oshi-zumo that made him an ozeki, and which had mostly been AWOL for much of the year. Ranked at ozeki west, he'll be safe from kadoban and demotion worries - at least for this basho. Nevertheless, the kadoban-of-the-month club will not be empty as Kaio takes up residence for Kyushu due to the leg injury that forced him out of Aki basho early, continuing the Chiyotaikai-Kaio kadoban pattern that has gone on all year. Together with Tochiazuma and now-retired Musoyama (who were kadoban last November), they are setting a dubious record of seven consecutive tournaments with at least one ozeki in danger of demotion, breaking the previous streak of six basho (from March 2001 to January 2002). Here's hoping that all ozeki manage to get their eight wins for a change so that there's something different to write about in this section of the banzuke preview in two months.

Of course, there just might be something altogether different to write about the ozeki ranks
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