Aki Basho Summary
by Lon Howard
|shuffling to harmless 10-5
marks, and Tochiazuma gutting out 9-6 on his two bad knees.
The final two days put down the finishing touches for the disappointment and frustration building for Kokonoe oyakata. On day 14, with his 18th yusho already in hand, Asashoryu curiously elected to join Chiyotaikai in a wild display of
circling, flailing and thrusting, at
way to put the 2006 Aki basho in perspective is to look to the public
musings of Kokonoe oyakata. First, after day 14: “If you
take out day 14, Asashoryu’s sumo was near-perfect. However, the
collapse of those around him made things easy for him. He needs
to endeavor to put even more distance between himself and the other
Then the next day, post-basho: “He won because those around him were so damn weak. His speed and technique leave much to be desired compared to his heyday. He lost his cool because he got hit in the face (by ozeki Chiyotaikai). The guy still has a long way to go.”
In contrasting those two morsels, one might infer that (1) Asashoryu lost a lot of speed and technique in just two days, (2) in his heyday, Asashoryu was perfect, (3) the distance between near-perfect and perfect is a long way, or (4) near-perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Or maybe – it might be that the oyakata was just as frustrated with this basho as many of us, only to him it was a little more personal. For the second straight shonichi, ozeki Hakuho and sekiwake Miyabiyama began fumbling away their promotion hopes right at the start. While we thought “Oh my God”, the oyakata was a lot more colorful, as he had a right to be. Later, the events of day 6 probably reprised those remarks, as all five ozeki and the yokozuna crashed
|and burned –
a first, we are told. It was komusubi Kisenosato who overpowered
Asashoryu who, himself, had steamrolled all opponents to that
point. From here, Hakuho would need to win all of his remaining
bouts or somehow fabricate a 12-3 yusho to even be considered for
promotion, while Miyabiyama’s ozeki quest was spiraling downward with a
3-3 record. Despite M6 Ama’s 6-0 surprise, real hope for this
basho was waning.
Sadly, there was no white knight around the corner this time. Before the next day’s action, ozeki Kaio declared himself kyujo with his 1-5 record. This was followed shortly by Hakuho’s third loss, and Ama entering the loss column for the first time. The rest of the ozeki were mostly a mess, with Tochiazuma hobbling around at 3-4 and Chiyotaikai and Kotooshu each carrying two losses; with all of them having yet to face each other. Asashoryu roared back with a crushing win against the Estonian, M1 Baruto, and appeared to have no real challengers after just seven days. All of the pre-basho- building anticipation over a new yokozuna or ozeki seemed to have been just a flight of fancy.
After that, the basho stammered on, with Hakuho losing four of his last five bouts to eke out his 8-7, Ama falling as expected to the ozeki and the yokozuna – but still with an 11-4 to show off, Miyabiyama grunting to 9-6, Chiyotaikai and Kotooshu