It's not the injures that causes him underperforming and it's not the lack of injuries at the moment that provided us with entirely new Kotooshu this basho. He is relatively new to Ozumo, but he has long sport career so he knows how to deal with pain and fear of injuries. He proved it on the dohyo as well. 2003 Haru basho comes to mind first. Sure injuries play important role when you have confidence problems, but that's definitely not the most important factor for Kotooshu.
Back during his Ozeki run he said once in an interview "I knew I am second best at the moment and I wanted to prove it".That says a lot. That's not champion attitude! Ozeki means champion doesn't it? Never so far Kotooshu demonstrated that killer attitude you need for yusho "I can kill them all and came here to do it!" Until now.
Since the first day of Natsu basho we got completely new Kotooshu. For the very first time he looks, talks, fights and most importantly wins as Ozeki should do it. All we need is single word to describe Kotooshu today: Convincing.
Seems he finally managed to adapt to Ozeki demands. Not only he finally understood how he should fight at that rank, but he managed to change his sumo to do it. That's the second thing I disagree with Kintamayama about. He needs this change. He needs to finish it. To polish his Ozeki-sumo so to speak (no more henkas against Kisenosato even if it's really matter of reflex Kotooshu claims). And he needs to change further if he wants to take the next giant step.
It's very pleasant surprise to see that entirely new Kotooshu indeed, but it didn't came just like that. He was trying hard to change for more than a year and thats what makes me optimistic he will be able to keep that momentum. Now he finally managed to do it and we can see it everywhere. Never in makuuchi he had so convincing basho. Just take a look at the kimarite list so far, Yorikiri - 54%, Oshidashi, Oshitaoshi, Okuridashi, Okuritaoshi, Shitatenage. All except the last one are 100% convincing ones. No last ditch efforts at tawara, no room for wondering who the attacker was, no dead-body speculations, no chance for mono-ii. That shows the forward sumo mentality is finally there. Today's win against Asashoryu shows the killer instinct is finally there too. It was coll minded yet overwhelming victory. Yes I know Asashoryu is not in his best form and yes yes yes I remember Kisenosato ...
I am happy to see Ozeki Kottooshu finally arrived.
Will he stay with us? Will he be able to go further? I don't know. First step is done! I do believe not the last one.
Very well said, Salle!
I am so happy with the wonderful performance of Kotooshu this basho.
Kaloyan means "handsome Ivan/Joan/John" and also this is a name of a great Bulgarian king.