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Should Kisenosato have been promoted or not?


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Poll: Should Kisenosato have been promoted or not? (50 member(s) have cast votes)

Should Kisenosato have been promoted or not?

  1. Yes (22 votes [43.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 43.14%

  2. No (29 votes [56.86%])

    Percentage of vote: 56.86%

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#26 Asojima

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 16:52

BTW, average winning percentage by ozeki, 1995-1998 (from right after Takanohana's promotion to yokozuna, to before Chiyotaikai's arrival as ozeki): .705, 10.58 wins. Yeah, not hard to see where all these misconceptions have originated.

One of my first posts in 2005 was titled "Where's the Beef?". It compared the yokozuna/ozeki performances for the 5 year periods before and after 1999. There was a very significant downturn that started in 1999. The yokozunas have since improved dramatically, but the ozekis continue in the doldrums. I continue to see an ozeki attitude of "get my 8 and go home". I'm not happy with it, but it is a fact of life. I hope that each new ozeki will break out of the mold, but, so far, all but Asashoryu and Hakuho have quickly fallen in line.

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#27 Asashosakari

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 17:07

I continue to see an ozeki attitude of "get my 8 and go home".

The thing is, that's another aspect in which the mid-1990s just aren't representative at all. You have Musashimaru who was pretty much yokozuna-in-waiting for all that time and probably could have won 9 bouts with one hand tied behind his back (and wasn't a frequent criticism of him that he seemed too laid back and rarely interested in performing up to his capabilities consistently?).

And then you have Takanonami and Wakanohana who had one big incentive towards strong performances that just doesn't apply to other ozeki - they were able to play spoiler to the yusho hopes of Akebono and Musashimaru to increase the likelihood of a yusho by their stablemate Takanohana. Add in the fact that the heya advantage also allowed them to get their easy kicks in on M7's and M8's, while most other ozeki don't see anybody ranked lower than M4, and Waka and Nami were generally much closer to the yusho race than other ozekis would be with comparable skills. So first they didn't have any reason to take it easy after making KK (because they were more likely to be 8-2 at that point instead of 8-4), and then they had another incentive to keep the fire going for the last few days of the basho, even if they had fallen out of the race between Days 10 and 13.

#28 Manekineko

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 07:51

I don't have much to add to this discussion, except to wave at Asashosakari and say that I agree with him. He successfully managed to shatter my preconceptions about ozeki (since I, too, started watching sumo in Taka-Ake era). So I voted "Yes" in the poll.
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#29 ryafuji

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 12:15

If it's a misconception that ozeki are expected to win ten, then how does one explain the term "kunroku", which the glossary tells us means "'9-6', ozeki incapable of holding the honour of his exalted rank by often failing to score double-digit wins in honbasho"?

#30 Asashosakari

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 13:49

If it's a misconception that ozeki are expected to win ten, then how does one explain the term "kunroku", which the glossary tells us means "'9-6', ozeki incapable of holding the honour of his exalted rank by often failing to score double-digit wins in honbasho"?

1) The fact that something is in a dictionary doesn't imply that it must be in wide-spread use.

2) I'll get tired of saying it eventually, but: circumstances matter. If Takanonami's typical record had been 9-6 it would have been a huge disappointment, considering the heya advantage. In a scenario with 6 or 7 rikishi capable of finishing KK 80+% of the time (I'm trying to avoid calling them "ozeki-quality") and who all have to face each other in every basho, frequently finishing at least 9-6 is a lot more impressive.

3) The idea behind "kunroku" as I understand it is that it describes ozeki whose upside is 9-6, and who will thus struggle to even reach KK as soon as things don't quite go according to plan. Kotooshu's first few years as ozeki = pretty kunrokuish, because he'd often start about 5-4 against komusubi and below, and then have to rely on miraculously (wink, nudge) strong performances against the sekiwake and his fellow ozeki to finish 8-7 or 9-6. Harumafuji this past year and a half = somewhat less kunroku even with frequent 8-7 finishes since he's easily cruising to an early KK, he just gets rolled for lots of losses by the other high-rankers at the end. Whether that's because he's actually the worst ozeki right now or because he just doesn't care is a different but related question here...if it's "doesn't care" those 8-7's don't mean a whole lot since he could do better if needed, but if those late losses signify his actual skill level it's a lot more problematic since his margin for error against lower-ranked opposition becomes much smaller.

Too much nuance, I guess...

#31 Flohru

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 14:52

If it's a misconception that ozeki are expected to win ten, then how does one explain the term "kunroku", which the glossary tells us means "'9-6', ozeki incapable of holding the honour of his exalted rank by often failing to score double-digit wins in honbasho"?

1) The fact that something is in a dictionary doesn't imply that it must be in wide-spread use.

Or it tells us that the term indeed is in wide-spread use showing that the public misconception regarding ozeki quality is as strong as you suspect it to be... (Whistling...)

Seriously though I also quite agree with Asashosakari and Randomitsuki here (and thus voted "yes" in the poll).

#32 Sashohitowa

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 16:47

I have the feeling that the discussion went a bit into direction of what should be expected/counted for acceptable performance of the Ozeki Kisenosato. While the question was rather if his promotion was deserved ot not. On the first one I might agree with the statements that for Kisenosato won't be that hard to achieve the "Ozeki average" performance. But it doesn't change the fact that his promotion is at least questinable.

For example, Kakuryu also exceeds the above mentioned by Randomitsuki average Ozeki performance. But this alone won't put him in the Ozeki seat -- he has to earn it. Like Kisenosato had to, and in my oppinion he did not manage to. Therefore I voted "no".

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#33 Asojima

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 16:58

My "no" vote had nothing to do with the promotion criteria. His mid-basho win-loss scenarios strongly suggest to me that he will be another 8 and out ozeki. We don't need another one.

A large cadre of yusho or no show Ozekis serves no useful purpose. They pick off the Sekiwake and below contenders early in the basho and offer Hakuho or any surviving contender a free ride late in the basho. It makes for boring bashos.

Edited by Asojima, 06 December 2011 - 19:01.

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#34 Asashosakari

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 23:37

I have the feeling that the discussion went a bit into direction of what should be expected/counted for acceptable performance of the Ozeki Kisenosato. While the question was rather if his promotion was deserved ot not. On the first one I might agree with the statements that for Kisenosato won't be that hard to achieve the "Ozeki average" performance. But it doesn't change the fact that his promotion is at least questinable.

For example, Kakuryu also exceeds the above mentioned by Randomitsuki average Ozeki performance. But this alone won't put him in the Ozeki seat -- he has to earn it. Like Kisenosato had to, and in my oppinion he did not manage to. Therefore I voted "no".

Well, I think the basis for why both this thread and the previous ones have veered off is that there's a very clear separation between "how good should an ozeki be" and "how good should an ozeki candidate be", and Kise's promotion has simply highlighted that there's a good case to make that the separation has become ridiculously large. FWIW, I think Kakuryu also deserves promotion at this time, as did Baruto after going 12/9/12 with credible sumo, etc. etc. That means 6 ozeki, sure, but if 3 yokozuna + 5 ozeki didn't bother anyone, why should 1 + 6? (Aren't yokozuna just a special kind of ozeki? (Whistling...))

And I'll repeat my main contention: Having this type of rikishi (clearly not future dai-yokozuna, but very frequent KK'er) get stuck at the sekiwake rank unreasonably long only increases the likelihood that their eventual ozeki time will be a disappointment because they've spent much of their best years as sekiwake. Promoting them early-ish at least offers the chance that their promotion will motivate them to keep improving themselves towards a yokozuna run. If you only promote them once they can already see the fast-approaching downhill side of their career (with all that that entails - keiko only to the extent that it keeps your current skills sharp, competitive sumo more geared to injury prevention than maximum likelihood of winning, etc.) you create exactly the type of ozeki nobody wants to see.

Taking it to its extreme, I'm once again wondering if many people don't secretly believe that only a future yokozuna should even become ozeki and/or that the ideal Ozumo setup would only have one combined rank altogether. Maybe we need to turn the clocks back to before 1890. Speaking of which...


A large cadre of yusho or no show Ozekis serves no useful purpose. They pick off the Sekiwake and below contenders early in the basho and offer Hakuho or any surviving contender a free ride late in the basho. It makes for boring bashos.

What's your alternative - 5+ sekiwakes? 4+ komusubi and 12-3 required to force a promotion from komusubi to sekiwake? Hope for the inevitable injuries so that instead of being kadoban they can drop to M9 and collect 13 easy wins there the next time while Hakuho's opposition gets even easier? These guys don't magically stop achieving (small) KK 80+% of the time just because they're not ozeki.

Edit: That being said, I'm wouldn't be opposed to an idea Doitsuyama posted during (I think) the last pre-yaocho scandal OBSC discussions, namely mixing up their bouts with each other and with Hakuho much more instead of concentrating them in the final five-ish days of the basho. Don't think it's going to change their W-L records or the overall yusho-or-fold attitude though. (My personal pet issue: IMHO, kadoban ozeki should be getting komusubi-like schedules. Of course, the current crowd isn't actually kadoban all that much...)

Edited by Asashosakari, 07 December 2011 - 00:02.


#35 Asashosakari

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 00:10

What's your alternative - 5+ sekiwakes? 4+ komusubi and 12-3 required to force a promotion from komusubi to sekiwake? Hope for the inevitable injuries so that instead of being kadoban they can drop to M9 and collect 13 easy wins there the next time while Hakuho's opposition gets even easier? These guys don't magically stop achieving (small) KK 80+% of the time just because they're not ozeki.

Vaguely on-topic side note: The last few months I've been playing the old Virtual Sumo simulator again from time to time, and because I'm nuts I've rigged up the game so that I can override its nutty banzuke-making, especially its tendency to treat a 14-rikishi sanyaku as just dandy instead of the overblown mess that it is. I'm handling 8-7 as a demotable record for sekiwake and komusubi and as kadoban for ozeki...

#36 Asojima

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 06:34

A large cadre of yusho or no show Ozekis serves no useful purpose. They pick off the Sekiwake and below contenders early in the basho and offer Hakuho or any surviving contender a free ride late in the basho. It makes for boring bashos.

What's your alternative - 5+ sekiwakes? 4+ komusubi and 12-3 required to force a promotion from komusubi to sekiwake? Hope for the inevitable injuries so that instead of being kadoban they can drop to M9 and collect 13 easy wins there the next time while Hakuho's opposition gets even easier? These guys don't magically stop achieving (small) KK 80+% of the time just because they're not ozeki.

Edit: That being said, I'm wouldn't be opposed to an idea Doitsuyama posted during (I think) the last pre-yaocho scandal OBSC discussions, namely mixing up their bouts with each other and with Hakuho much more instead of concentrating them in the final five-ish days of the basho. Don't think it's going to change their W-L records or the overall yusho-or-fold attitude though. (My personal pet issue: IMHO, kadoban ozeki should be getting komusubi-like schedules. Of course, the current crowd isn't actually kadoban all that much...)

In the past, you and I have both espoused a revision of the kadoban rule to be that an ozeki who does not acquire 10 wins in a basho would be declared kadoban. Ozekis could no longer be content to survive with just 8 wins per basho. They would risk a drop to sekiwake with an injury in the next basho. There would be greater pressure on the entire joi-jin. Mediocre ozekis and sanyaku would be less likely to maintain their rank. Hakuho would face stiffer competition. A win-win.

P.S., I also like Doitsuyama's suggestion.

Edited by Asojima, 07 December 2011 - 06:44.

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#37 Andonishiki

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 12:58

no, he should not yet have been promoted in my opionion.

An Ozeki should be a viable contender for a yusho race against the Yokozuna(s).
Kise was never close to a yusho.
I think, that 33 wins over 3 bashos, a yusho or at least a jun-yusho with 13-2 should be required.
We already had 4 Ozekis... why do we need to inflate this rank even more ?
If I remember correctly, Haru and Oshu have a yusho, Bart was quite close once and Giku had his 33 wins (did he not?)
It might be just for the salary.. or for the sake of having 2 Japanese nationals on that rank.
But it's the performance, that matters to me, not the passport.

Nevertheless, Kise is a hero for the only guy in 2011, who posed a real thread to Hakuho.
Since I day he threw the Yokozuna into the third row of spectators, he will remain a HERO in my memories.
I truly hope, he will continue to do well and collect at least 70 wins in 2012.
There will never be another Sekiwake in my benchteam, as long as he holds this rank (Whistling...)
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#38 Asashosakari

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 14:23

In the past, you and I have both espoused a revision of the kadoban rule to be that an ozeki who does not acquire 10 wins in a basho would be declared kadoban. Ozekis could no longer be content to survive with just 8 wins per basho. They would risk a drop to sekiwake with an injury in the next basho. There would be greater pressure on the entire joi-jin. Mediocre ozekis and sanyaku would be less likely to maintain their rank. Hakuho would face stiffer competition. A win-win.

Do you mean kadoban with under 10 wins, but subsequent demotion only with under 8, or am I misreading your suggestion? If you mean requiring 10 wins at both stages, I'm pretty sure I've never suggested that as feasible...

I also question that it would improve the level of pressure on Hakuho significantly. I think it's much more likely that the ozeki-ranked rikishi would mainly be more focussed in their bouts against the lower-rankers to avoid the frequent silly losses that afflict them right now. I'd be okay with that outcome, but then I'm clearly in the minority with my belief that an ozeki who starts 8-1 and finishes 10-5 has done his job (of being the "great barrier" to the lesser rikishi). The only thing that's going to materially improve the quality of the yusho races IMO is a (further) decline in Hakuho's skills. Or putting the tsuna carrot back in actual reach of today's ozeki, but I don't want to hijack another thread for that crusade.


We already had 4 Ozekis... why do we need to inflate this rank even more ?

Because the competitive landscape just happens to be that way at the moment. Few yokozuna (one), lots of very regular KK'ers (arguably six), and relatively few "steady joi-jin" (the type who might KK about half the time and avoid massive losses the other half...currently pretty much just Toyonoshima and Goeido). Things used to be different not so long ago, when guys like Aminishiki and Miyabiyama could still be counted on as steady joi-jin, not to mention that Kotoshogiku and Kakuryu themselves weren't as good as they are now, and so could be counted in that group. I'd prefer a more equitable answer to the "who's an ozeki?" question than "it's the best X guys who aren't yokozuna". Sometimes the circumstances force X to be smaller, sometimes larger.

Edited by Asashosakari, 07 December 2011 - 14:49.


#39 Asojima

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 15:18

In the past, you and I have both espoused a revision of the kadoban rule to be that an ozeki who does not acquire 10 wins in a basho would be declared kadoban. Ozekis could no longer be content to survive with just 8 wins per basho. They would risk a drop to sekiwake with an injury in the next basho. There would be greater pressure on the entire joi-jin. Mediocre ozekis and sanyaku would be less likely to maintain their rank. Hakuho would face stiffer competition. A win-win.

Do you mean kadoban with under 10 wins, but subsequent demotion only with under 8, or am I misreading your suggestion? If you mean requiring 10 wins at both stages, I'm pretty sure I've never suggested that as feasible...

I also question that it would improve the level of pressure on Hakuho significantly. I think it's much more likely that the ozeki-ranked rikishi would mainly be more focussed in their bouts against the lower-rankers to avoid the frequent silly losses that afflict them right now. I'd be okay with that outcome, but then I'm clearly in the minority with my belief that an ozeki who starts 8-1 and finishes 10-5 has done his job (of being the "great barrier" to the lesser rikishi). The only thing that's going to materially improve the quality of the yusho races IMO is a (further) decline in Hakuho's skills. Or putting the tsuna carrot back in actual reach of today's ozeki, but I don't want to hijack another thread for that crusade.

Kadoban at less than 10 and then demotion at less than 8. An Ozeki could continue to survive with a solid string of 8 or 9 wins, but he would always be kadoban and subject to a quick demotion. The extra 2 wins that the ozekis would need would reduce the number of spiritless ozeki matches that Hakuho now benefits from. His 14-1 yushos could become 13-2 or 12-3. This would provide additional incentive for other rikishi to fight to remain in the race. If there are 5 ozekis, this could, in theory, result in an additional 10 gimme matches becoming hard-fought.

Edited by Asojima, 07 December 2011 - 15:18.

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#40 Jakusotsu

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 15:25

Kise was never close to a yusho.

Jun-Yusho last September, one win behind Hakuho. How much closer can you get?
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#41 Oshirokita

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 17:46

I like promotions by the numbers but in this case, I have come around to think, Yes, it is okay to promote Kisenosato based on his last several basho. But, I am still miffed that Miyabiyama got snubbed in 2006.

#42 Jejima

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:48

From Banzuke topics found at the Nihon Sumo Kyokai webpage...

Kisenosato earned promotion to sumo's second highest rank following a 10-5 record ranked at East Sekiwake in the 2011 November Grand Sumo Tournament. He is only the third rikishi since the reintroduction of the fifteen day tournament schedule in May of 1949 to be promoted to ozeki with this record following Kitanofuji (later the fifty-second yokozuna) and the first since Takanohana I was promoted for the 1972 November Grand Sumo Tournament. (see Table 4)

Kisenosato earned promotion to sumo's second highest rank with a record of 32-13 over three consecutive tournaments holding a sanyaku (sekiwake or komusubi) rank. The last rikishi to be promoted to ozeki with thirty-two wins or less over a similar period was Chiyotaikai (Sanoyama Oyakata), promoted for the 1999 March Grand Sumo Tournament following a three tournament record of 32-13.

Last tournament Kisenosato lost to Harumafuji, Hakuho, Baruto and Kotoshogiku. He is the first rikishi in history to earn promotion to sumo's second highest rank following a tournament in which he lost to a total of four or more ozeki and yokozuna.

I think these facts show that he was promoted very lightly compared to usual.
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#43 Asashosakari

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:28

I think these facts show that he was promoted very lightly compared to usual.

Well, if these are the only categories you're allowing, then yes. On the other hand, we could perhaps look at a list of rikishi who achieved 50+ wins in five sanyaku basho, and find that the only ones who didn't become ozeki at the end of such an extended run had 30 or fewer wins in the final three basho... And unsurprisingly, that subgroup of non-promoted rikishi consists almost entirely of eventual ozeki, Wakanosato being the only exception. I'll save my usual rant about how a lot of ozeki-quality rikishi are being promoted too late.

#44 Yubinhaad

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:45

Last tournament Kisenosato lost to Harumafuji, Hakuho, Baruto and Kotoshogiku. He is the first rikishi in history to earn promotion to sumo's second highest rank following a tournament in which he lost to a total of four or more ozeki and yokozuna.

Well... if you can't beat them, join them...

#45 Jejima

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 05:04

I think these facts show that he was promoted very lightly compared to usual.

Well, if these are the only categories you're allowing, then yes. On the other hand, we could perhaps look at a list of rikishi who achieved 50+ wins in five sanyaku basho, and find that the only ones who didn't become ozeki at the end of such an extended run had 30 or fewer wins in the final three basho... And unsurprisingly, that subgroup of non-promoted rikishi consists almost entirely of eventual ozeki, Wakanosato being the only exception. I'll save my usual rant about how a lot of ozeki-quality rikishi are being promoted too late.


Perhaps the banzuke makers did look at this, but then again, perhaps they didn't. The point that there have been rikishi in the past getting 50 wins over 5 bashos, and not getting the promotion, would suggest that this is not something that is normally taken into consideration. (One of those bashos for Kisenosato includes an 8-7, which I would imagine would not be too seriously considered for any Ozeki promotion run...)

The banzuke topics produced by their organisation (so presumably has their blessing), does not mention this. Their points seem to suggest that he has been 'lucky' with his promotion, rather than giving good justification.

Edited by Jejima, 15 January 2012 - 06:32.

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#46 Kintamayama

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:59

The banzuke topics produced by their organisation (so presumably has their blessing), does not mention this. Their points seem to suggest that he has been 'lucky' with his promotion, rather than giving good justification.

My view is we judge 'em by their merits. If Kisenosato does well, it was a good promotion. If he doesn't, it wasn't. As simple as that. Sometimes one win (or loss) should not stand in the way of someone the Kyokai feels has done well lately and is deserving. And don't forget I maintain the next Yokozuna will NOT be promoted by way of the current criteria of BBY. He will be promoted if deemed deserving.
We shall see.

Edited by Kintamayama, 15 January 2012 - 06:59.

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#47 Jejima

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:47

My view is we judge 'em by their merits. If Kisenosato does well, it was a good promotion. If he doesn't, it wasn't. As simple as that. Sometimes one win (or loss) should not stand in the way of someone the Kyokai feels has done well lately and is deserving.


Wise words. Let's see how he does in 2012.
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#48 Jakusotsu

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:51

Judging by his performance so far, the promotion was legitimate. I'm not Kise's biggest fan, but I can see Gernobono's point as he recently mentioned him becoming more and more like Hakuho.
"I don't believe anyone has the right not to be offended by something." - ryafuji
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#49 Asashosakari

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    Sumo is a very good thing. Though better with affordable video.

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:22

2011.09: 12-3
2011.11: 10-5
2012.01: 11-4

#50 Doitsuyama

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:48

2011.09: 12-3
2011.11: 10-5
2012.01: 11-4

Kisenosato is joining Hakuho and Tochiazuma as the only shin-ozeki in the last 50 years with a score better than in the ozeki-clinching basho. Granted, this feat is easier the weaker the ozeki-clinching score is but still...


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