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Three Musketeers

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Before the basho my yusho favorites were Musashimaru, Kaio and Tochiazuma. Here are the result of some rating calculations of me (don't take the numbers too serious...):

2442 Musashimaru

2400 Tochiazuma

2396 Kaio

2365 Chiyotaikai

2332 Kotomitsuki

2311 Asashoryu

2304 Musoyama

2294 Wakanosato

As we all know by now, Musashimaru had to reveal that his injury was worse than thought and had to retreat from the tournament. Asashoryu and Wakanosato made good bouts, but lost several close ones so they are out of the yusho race too as well as Musoyama.

Kaio has lost two but still is in the race because he has to face all three 8-0 rikishi starting tomorrow with Kotomitsuki. The other two will likely be on days 13 and 14.

Of course one has to re-estimate the strengths of the rikishi after such results as happened this basho. Here are some interim ratings:

2448 Tochiazuma

2421 Chiyotaikai

2406 Musashimaru

2388 Kotomitsuki

2386 Kaio

2323 Wakanosato

2289 Musoyama

2279 Asashoryu

Remarkable that Tochiazuma and Chiyotaikai are rated even higher than Musashimaru. In fact, 2448 is a clear Yokozuna rating... For example, Wakanohana's highest rating ever was 2421. Of course, Konishiki's highest rating ever was 2458 and he didn't get a tsuna, but this possibly would have been better for Wakanohana too.

As events are developing now, we really could be watching the beginning of a new era - Tochi-Taikai-Mitsuki-jidai? They are all three born in the year 1976 and thus the youngest in Makuuchi except Asashoryu, Aminishiki and Miyabiyama so there is a lot of future time left in them.

Well, in any case the next basho has to stimulate Sumo interest in Japan again when the three 76'ers have left their markings on the dohyo and the two Yokozuna Musashimaru and Takanohana will return.

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Guest Kaikitsune
As events are developing now, we really could be watching the beginning of a new era - Tochi-Taikai-Mitsuki-jidai?


Akinoshima was a victim of Tochiazuma`s shift to side after collision. Wily Kaiho tried to pay back Azuma`s henka in Aki basho but Azuma`s lateral movement was enough to follow through and blast Kaiho out simultaneously jumping and landing in horizontal position! Agile bout and an evidence of quick reflexes by Azuma. Kyokutenho performed a slap down from static situation nearly causing Azuma his first loss. Asashoryu gave everything and more to Azuma who withstood without too much trouble and after the recess continued to simply outclass Asa in belt struggle finishing off with a nice uwatedashinage. Easily blocking Shuzan`s leg grap, ignoring a slapdown attempt and pathetic kubinage Azuma displayed very solid defensive moves in the process of attacking successfully. Takanonami and Tamanoshima couldn`t stand a chance to Azuma`s inside grip. On nakabi Wakanosato got his favourite grip and VERY strong one too. Azuma fought back Waka`s immense strength yorikiri-attempt and then simply outskilled him! Confusingly strong and skillful performance! Tochiazuma is in great form and clearly in yusho race.


Chiyotaikai is a classic example of explosive power. He may lose in training when he fights 5-10 bouts in a row and against Tochiazuma he was clearly losing more in pre-basho training sessions. However he packs tremendous amount of power and ignites it all once a day during honbasho. Basically he has dominated every bout 100-1.


Shitate is his favourite grip. Tactically he appears to be very mature and against Toki, Kyokutenho, Takanonami his tactics worked perfectly. Numerous sanban-geiko sessions against Wakanosato during jungyo must have taught both rikishi all about each others styles. Kotomitsuki`s blocking of Wakanosato`s uwatenage was brilliant display of shifting weight at the very right moment. Tomorrow he faces Kaio.

I don`t know if these three will create a new era but in this basho they certainly have a great rivalry going on! Kaio and Musoyama are big factors in how the outcome of Hatsu will be. Kotomitsuki has already fought Muso but he still has Asashoryu against whom Taikai and Azuma already emerged victorious!

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Wow, Azuma has slipped twice in a row, and Taikai looks unstoppable! But if they both win tomorrow, and then Azuma defeats Taikai in musubi-no ichiban - and Mickey wins both his remaining bouts - we'll have a three-way playoff! Please, please, I want to see it... :-P  

Oh, this is a great basho! (Happy...)

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