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A disappointing Miyabiyama

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Miyabiyama realized an very bad end of year! His little kachi-koshi in november doesn't cancel performances in july and september. For me, he's not in very good shape ( above all about reflexes ). He's slow! However, fighting spirit is always his main force.

And you, how do you consider Miyabiyama'season? What are you explain his results?

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Miyabiyama is a lazy ball of fat. That's the only way I can explain such results with such potential.

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I find it amazing just how little support Miyabiyama seems to have, at least amongst the "western" sumo fan community.  I can't seem to remember anybody ever really writing much good about him, but rather plenty of threads here and there about how poor his performances were, what a lousy Ozeki he was, how little people like him, or that he is a "fetid carcass" :)

I'm not really sure why that is... I tend to think that if he can be called a lazy ball of fat, then the same would apply to plenty of other rikishi who perhaps weigh "too much" and/or don't have the most tenacious training mentality.

Now, I do not know much about Miyabiyama's training mentality, but I sure have some doubts that he is just "lazy" - how can a Makuuchi rikishi be lazy and survive?  I don't think it's possible... while there are certainly rikishi who train "extra-hard" (or at least give some of us that impression), I really don't think that Miyabiyama does not train hard and try just as much,... why wouldn't he?  No doubt he liked being Ozeki, and would like to climb back up once more - else why bother carry on?

Granted, his performances were really bad as Ozeki.  He was promoted with 34 wins and 3 sansho... but then immediately started tanking - 6-9, 8-7, 9-6, 8-7, 7-8, 9-6, 7-8... not exactly Ozeki stuff.  Then, his injury...

So how bad was his year really?  He came back from injury with a 9-6 and 10-5, and was Komusubi again after just two basho, rising from Maegashira 8.  Not bad!!!  Then, the sanyaku sticker-shock, and a 6-9, followed by a close 7-8 as M1 (facing the strongest field of the year), but he stuck around the upper ranks, and then had another KK in Kyushu, moving back to Maegashira 1 again for Hatsu 2003.

So was it really that bad?   He is competing at near-sanyaku or sanyaku level, still trying to regain form after his injury.  He showed some pretty good stuff in Kyushu - his biggest problem is still falling for people who get out of his way, but he is capable of beating most of the top-rankers, and thus always dangerous.  I would not be surprised to see him in sanyaku as a regular in 2003... he may not be back at Ozeki again... but I don't think it's all gloom and doom for him.

All that said, I am not a particular fan of his, but the more I hear people complain about him, the more I feel like I for once want to say "something good" on his behalf.  And I also hope that he will do well again in the bashos to come.  He can still be a mainstay of the sumo scene in the years to come... he is still so young...

Cheers!

Zenjimoto

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I think that most fans (not just westerners  (Sigh...) ) are simply dissappointed with him, which is why they bad mouth him all the time.

Here is a rikishi who rocketed up the banzuke like an unstoppable juggernaught, blowing through Juryo without really breaking a sweat. Then, after a short adjustment period, he fired up the Makuuchi ladder and earned Ozeki promotion. He was such a prodigy that some people even reffered to him as a certain future Yokozuna (it feels funny saying that now).

But it all went down hill from the moment he stepped onto the dohyo in his first basho as an Ozeki. He proceeded to put together one of the worst Ozeki records of all-time. Dare I say that some fans feel he disgraced the rank, thus earning their derision (sp?).

I don't know anything about his training and I certainly am not going to say he is lazy. I can only comment on what I see from him on the dohyo, and right now he reminds me of Tosanoumi. In other words, he has his moments, but he often looks like a stumble bum who can't get out of his own way. This from a rikishi who once held so much promise.

Maybe he still hasn't fully recovered from the shoulder surgery, maybe he has and just hasn't found his form. Whatever the reason, he is now only a shadow of the rikishi who burst upon the scene a couple of years ago. For people who remember what he was then, it has to be frustrating to see what he is now.

Miyabiyama: Sumo's biggest enigma...

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Here is a rikishi who rocketed up the banzuke like an unstoppable juggernaught, blowing through Juryo without really breaking a sweat. Then, after a short adjustment period, he fired up the Makuuchi ladder and earned Ozeki promotion. He was such a prodigy that some people even reffered to him as a certain future Yokozuna (it feels funny saying that now).

I started following sumo when Miyabiyama was just arriving in Makuuchi, and I remember him as a very spectacular rikishi. I was sure (with my no knowledge of that time) that he was going to be a great rikishi : at least an ozeki, and maybe a yokozuna. He, for sure, was a great rikishi, even if I don't really like his kind of sumo.

But it all went down hill from the moment he stepped onto the dohyo in his first basho as an Ozeki. He proceeded to put together one of the worst Ozeki records of all-time. Dare I say that some fans feel he disgraced the rank, thus earning their derision (sp?).

Then I couldn't follow sumo for some time. When I cam to back to sumo (and with much more interest), and found... wel... the Miyabiyama we now know (he was in his last bashos as an ozeki at that time). And then, I kept askong myself : Is that the same rikishi ? And I keep asking myself that same question...

Having had a break from sumo, I can tell you that it was quite strange to come directly from a wonderful-full-of-promises Miya to a disapointing-havy-fat Miya...

Maybe he still hasn't fully recovered from the shoulder surgery, maybe he has and just hasn't found his form. Whatever the reason, he is now only a shadow of the rikishi who burst upon the scene a couple of years ago. For people who remember what he was then, it has to be frustrating to see what he is now.
I couldn't agree more with you...

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For people who remember what he was then, it has to be frustrating to see what he is now.

I couldn't agree more with you...

Mmmh... I guess that makes sense.  Since I only really followed sumo from Aki 2001, I have actually never seen the "good" Miyabiyama, so I can't be "disappointed" with his decline ;)

Although, in that light, he strikes me more as a tragic hero... a prodigy with the potential for greatness who struggles to fight injury and/or internal demons of some sort... and one who should illicit compassion from the sumo fans who feel his pain :)  But everybody loves a winner, no? :D

But seriously, I do hope he finds whatever he seems to have lost... does anybody have any comparisons to the past, where a similar thing occurred to another rikishi?  How frequently do ex-Ozeki regain their rank after having been all the way down to Maegashira ranks?  What's the record for lowest rank fallen to before becoming Ozeki again?  (Uh, I should probably check one of you guys' excellent web sites, where this info is probably already neatly posted! :D )

Cheers!

Zenjimoto

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Although, in that light, he strikes me more as a tragic hero... a prodigy with the potential for greatness who struggles to fight injury and/or internal demons of some sort... and one who should illicit compassion from the sumo fans who feel his pain   But everybody loves a winner, no?

That's the way things are with sports fans in general. They love a winner and have little or no patience for someone who shows great potential and then doesn't live up to it. This is what I see happening to Miya.

You can see such cases like this in baseball, hockey, soccer, American football, etc. Fans are often the hardest on athletes who disappoint them.

(But, but...)

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In a way, aren't there quite a few parallels to Kotomitsuki now?  Stormed to the top, basically earned Ozeki promotion (although Kotomitsuki didn't, but the numbers sure looked similar), then a sudden turn of form (before the broken jaw even) and the injury... and now, the struggle back, not quite looking the same anymore.  The difference is, the NSK didn't promote him (perhaps cause of their previous experience with Miyabiyama?) - if they had, the similarities would be really striking :)  Or am I wrong?

Of course, it's all far from over.  Let's hope they both keep getting stronger and find back to their dashing form of early!

Cheers

Zenjimoto

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Now, I do not know much about Miyabiyama's training mentality, but I sure have some doubts that he is just "lazy" - how can a Makuuchi rikishi be lazy and survive?  I don't think it's possible...

I would like to draw your attention to a certain Chiyotenzan. He has got to be the laziest rikishi to grace the strawed circle lately. He also shot up like a meteor (I refer you to one of my early polls, where he was voted "most likely to succeed" by an overwhelming majority of experts..) and burned out like a meteor. His 3-12 in Juuryou last Basho was nothing short of pathetic. 9 losses this time, and he's in deep Maku(shit)a. AND, he likes to beat up young kids.

I wrest my cheese.

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Perhaps Miya is suffering the same 'high-expectations' syndrome many of young hopefuls seem to have these days. They come into Ozumo from University, already 23-24 years old, and they carry with them all the weariness and injuries they picked up in their amateur days. They are not such a fresh young blood as is often expected of them, certainly nothing like Asashoryu is. I agree with Zentoryu-zeki, current Miya is much like Tosanoumi, strong Tosanoumi that is. He can defeat san'yaku, but he looses some bouts he shouldn't if he wants to climb to Ozekihood again. I think he might make it to san'yaku again, maybe even keep the rank... It will be interesting to see how the three ex-Ozeki: Takanonami, Miyabiyama and Dejima preform in the 2003. Will they become san'yaku regulars? Will they only visit occasionaly and play spoiler the rest of the time? Will they languish in mid-maegashira? Will they plummet to Juryo and do the honourable thing?

Frankly, no idea here. You have to ask Dejima's calves, Takanonami's ankles, and Miyabiyama's ... shoulder? How strange to have two of once such promising young stars in such distinguished veteran company. The age difference is not that great: Miya is 25, Deji 28, Nami only 31. But Nami's career in Makuuchi is longer than Deji's and Miya's Ozumo careers put together...

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In a way, aren't there quite a few parallels to Kotomitsuki now?  Stormed to the top, basically earned Ozeki promotion (although Kotomitsuki didn't, but the numbers sure looked similar), then a sudden turn of form (before the broken jaw even) and the injury... and now, the struggle back, not quite looking the same anymore.  The difference is, the NSK didn't promote him (perhaps cause of their previous experience with Miyabiyama?) - if they had, the similarities would be really striking :-)  Or am I wrong?

I'll admit that when looking at the numbers, the similarities are striking. But I think there is something of a difference in both cases.

When I look at Miya, I see a rikishi who seems to have lost something. He no longer even remotely resembles the rikishi who got promoted to Ozeki. As I stated above, he looks more like Tosanoumi right now. There is something missing from his sumo, perhaps caused by his shoulder problems. But the point is, he doesn't display the talent he once seem to possess.

On the other hand, when I look at Kotomitsuki, I still see a rikishi with tremendous skill. In other words, as opposed to Miya, Mickey doesn't seem to have lost anything. I believe, and I'm sure Kotoseiya will correct me if I'm wrong in my assessment :-9, that Kotomitsuki's problem, aside from his assorted injuries, is an inability to stay focused for a whole basho. He seems to raise or lower the level of his sumo based on the quality of that day's opponent. He struggles against rank and file Maegashira and yet, when facing Musashimaru or any of the Ozeki, he manages to take his Sumo to a whole new level, often pulling off upsets.

Unlike Miya, Mickey often shows flashes of brilliance on the dohyo. His bouts with Wakanosato have been breath taking. When you see this, you know that if he can finally put it all together, he will certainly be at least an Ozeki. In other words, the potential is still there.

In Miyabiyama's case, the potential seems to have disappeared. You can tell just by watching him and seeing what he has become. Miya's apparent loss of skill is obvious, which makes you wonder what possibly could have happened to cause it.

Perhaps Miya is suffering the same 'high-expectations' syndrome many of young hopefuls seem to have these days. They come into Ozumo from University, already 23-24 years old, and they carry with them all the weariness and injuries they picked up in their amateur days. They are not such a fresh young blood as is often expected of them, certainly nothing like Asashoryu is.

I very much agree with this statement. Perhaps as good an explanation as any is simply that he is burned out.

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Miyabiyama's response:

:D

Cheers

Zenjimoto

That was very well done, Zenjimoto-san.

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