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SUMO: 2018 Aki Basho Senshuraku [Final Day] (Day 15)

What a tournament this has been! It’s Day 15, senshuraku of the Aki Basho, and I can EASILY say that this was the best basho of the year . . . quite probably the best in several years! Sure we come into the final day with yusho [tournament championship] already decided, but this has been such a stellar competition, I don’t really mind that the winner was decided a day early.

Yokozuna Hakuho continues his flawless basho by handing ozeki Goeido his third loss of the tournament. This not only secured the Aki Basho yusho for him (the 41st of his illustrious career), but was also his 1,000th victory in the Makuuchi Division (also his 806th win at the rank of yokozuna). If he wins today, he’ll get his 14th zensho-yusho [no-loss tournament championship]—also building on a record he already owns.

After some struggles in the middle of the tournament, ozeki Tochinoshin got his 8th win yesterday against M4 Abi. This gave Tochinoshin his kachi-koshi [majority of wins] and erased his kadoban [threatened with ozeki demotion] status. Unfortunately for Abi, it was his 8th loss, meaning that he is make-koshi [majority of losses] and will drop in the rankings for November’s Kyushu Basho.

There are seven rikishi sitting “on the bubble” with 7–7 records. For them, a win today means promotion, and a loss means demotion. These are invariably some of the highest drama, most hotly contested matches of any tournament. 

Another sign of what a strange basho it has been, for the first time since the end-of-tournament special prize structure was created (back in 1971), there were NO sansho [special prizes] awarded for this tournament. Apparently, the only ones doing well were the rikishi that were EXPECTED to excel.

The matches to watch today include:

M12 Nishikigi (9–5) vs. M8 Kotoshogiku (7–7)—The first of our bubble matches. Former ozeki Kotoshogiku started the tournament strong, but has struggled since the middle weekend. A win today, though, will get him his kachi-koshi. (4:21)
M15 Chiyoshoma (8–6) vs. M7 Tochiozan (7–7)—Bubble match number two. Tochiozan has run hot and cold all basho. What temperature will he be today? He’s never lost to Chiyoshoma in six previous matches. (5:50)
M6 Kagayaki (7–7) vs. M10 Daieisho (7–7)—A cruel pairing of two bubble rikishi. Should be a high energy bout. (8:25)
M3 Shodai (6–8) vs. M1 Kaisei (7–7)—If Kaisei wins he’ll not only be kachi-koshi, but very likely will get promoted up to a sanyaku rank in November. And he’s never lost ot Shodai in their previous six meetings. (9:45)
M5 Asanoyama (7–7) vs. komusubi Takakeisho (8–6)—Asanoyama needs one more win, but he’s got to do it against a komusubi who has been fighting tough all basho. Should be an exciting match. (11:05)
M5 Myogiryu (8–6) vs. sekiwake Ichinojo (7–7)—The last of our bubble matches. If Ichinojo wins, he gets to remain a sekiwake for a fourth straight basho. (12:25)
Yokozuna Kisenosato (10–4) vs. ozeki Goeido (11–3)—Kisenosato is fighting for yokozuna pride, and Goeido is fighting to be the sole runner-up for the yusho. (If Goeido loses, he’ll still be the runner-up, but he’ll have to share the honor with three other 11–4 rikishi, including Kisenosato.) (15:30)
Yokozuna Kakuryu (10–4) vs. yokozuna Hakuho (14–0)—Hakuho has secured the yusho, but if he wins here it will be a zensho-yusho! (16:30)

One Comment

  1. Andy wrote:

    jiminy christmas, the banzuke is going to be a mess for everyone under sanyaku next basho. I can’t wait!

    Monday, September 24, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

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