Lower Division Rikishi
text by Mikko Mattila
photos by Barbara Ann Klein
seven rikishi on that top ten list, only Dewaotori (fourth on the list)
had already gone up to juryo, but “conveniently” dropped down quite low
to makushita after a dismal Aki basho ranked close to the bottom
of juryo. So, Wakanoho
takes his place as the third prospect and has a great opportunity to
gain juryo promotion in Kyushu with a simple kachi-koshi.
Burly Kadomoto was sixth on the oyakatas’ list and has maintained his upward trend. At his career-high rank at Ms8, the 21-year-old achieved a robust 5-2 record, losing only to Yakigaya’s hatakikomi and Raiko’s oshitaoshi. He relied a lot on his usual forward going sumo, winning four bouts with “oshi” techniques. But once, he was in deep trouble against another upcoming young pusher star, Hokutokuni, and yielded morozashi, but saved the bout with a well-timed kotenage. One of Kadomoto’s victims was Mongolian Koryu (22 years of age) who has had more than
The future sekitori generation picked up the pace in makushita and largely
overshadowed the veterans in the yusho race. In Nagoya, we saw
Tochiozan (then Kageyama) leave makushita for better suited heights and
now, his designated rival, Sawai, rampaged through makushita, sweeping
the division with dominating sumo. Wakanoho, Shibuya, Isobe, Daiyuchi,
Tamaasuka, Yakigaya, Koryu, and Kadomoto all made their presence felt
and all have potentially long futures in sumo.|
One major difference between makushita and juryo is that it often happens that the best makushita rikishi don’t necessarily meet at all during the tournament, since only rikishi with like records are matched day-by-day. It was the case again as Sawai, Wakanoho, Shibuya and Kadomoto, for example, didn’t have any mutual bouts.
||Sawai had already captured the makushita yusho with a 7-0 record in the 2005 Kyushu basho. September
was reminiscent of that one almost a year ago, as Sawai outclassed his
main foes with fast, strong and skillful sumo. He had hardly any scares
and his wide usage of throws, leg trips, fast drives and even henka
brought him his second 7-0 yusho in makushita and a promotion to
juryo. For the first time in a long time, we will probably see
him facing Tochiozan on an ozumo basho dohyo. Sawai aspires to hone his
fast sumo and not allow his juryo opponents too much time to think.
Wakanoho had slowed down his ascension in recent tournaments but stepped it up again with a solid 6-1 record at Ms6. He had powerful and hard-worked wins over good foes like Yakigaya, Shiraishi, Nakanishi and Raiko, but also avoided meeting Sawai, Shibuya, Koryu or Kadomoto. Wakanoho’s only defeat came against former makuuchi Tamaasuka who didn’t give Wakanoho much of a chance with a yorikiri win.
Over a year ago, a group of oyakata evaluated the prospects of young promising rikishi at the time, and Sawai (who will be Goeido in Fukuoka) and Kageyama (now Tochiozan) were the top two on their list, while Wakanoho came in third. Of the