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Asashosakari

Promotion/Demotion and Yusho discussion Hatsu 2015

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Day 10 (results, text-only results):

A pretty exciting yusho race in which even two ozeki are (almost) keeping up. Ozeki #3 Goeido is more concerned with just saving his rank, of course - on the upside, at 5-5 he still has the best record among the 5 lower sanyaku. ;-)

On the other hand everybody else is more or less done facing high-ranked opponents and the shootout for the next four sanyaku spots will commence now. With the top 5 doing so well there's not much pressure from the maegashira ranks though and any decent kachikoshi might have a shot at promotion.

10-0 Hakuho Y1 Kakuryu 8-2

9-1 Harumafuji Y2

8-2 Kisenosato O1 Kotoshogiku 7-3

O2 Goeido 5-5

3-7 Aoiyama S Ichinojo 4-6

3-7 Takayasu K Tochiozan 4-6

3-7 Takarafuji M1 Tochinoshin 3-7

5-5 Terunofuji M2

3-7 Endo M3 Aminishiki 5-5

5-5 Toyonoshima M4 Jokoryu 4-6 (x)

(x) 4-6 Kaisei M5

7-3 Okinoumi M6

M7

M8

7-3 Tamawashi M9

Tosayutaka's unfortunate injury opened up a makuuchi slot early, but most others in the low ranks are performing pretty well, the big exception being Chiyomaru. That could be bad news for Chiyotairyu who's also injured and will end up right on the bubble with his one single win. And his spot could well be needed - Kitataiki has already done enough to merit a makuuchi return, Gagamaru isn't far behind, and Amuru has maneuvered himself into good position as well (after a 2-3 start).

M5 Chiyotairyu 1-6-3 (1)

M6 Toyohibiki 2-8 (1)

M7 Chiyootori 3-5-2 (o)

M8

M9

(2) 3-7 Sokokurai M10

M11 Yoshikaze 5-5 (o)

M12 Arawashi 6-4 (o)

M13

(2) 5-5 Kotoyuki M14 Chiyomaru 3-7 (4)

(2) 5-5 Sadanofuji M15 Kagamio 5-5 (2)

(2) 6-4 Tokushoryu M16 Tosayutaka 0-2-8 (x)

(2) 6-4 Amuru J1 Wakanosato 4-6 (4)

J2 Gagamaru 8-2 (1)

(o) 9-1 Kitataiki J3 Daido 5-5 (4)

(3) 7-3 Asahisho J4

(x) 4-6 Shotenro J5

J6

(x) 5-5 Tenkaiho J7

J8 Kagayaki 8-2 (4)

Juryo also has one available spot already thanks to Tochinowaka's untimely retirement, but there's no shortage of potential further departees here with Sakigake, Tokushinho and Tochihiryu all facing a tough task for the final five days. The makushita race is as open as I can ever remember - nobody inside the promotion zone sports more than 3 wins, so just about any combination of promotees is still possible. Only Sasanoyama and veteran Yoshiazuma have definitely left the race.

Ishiura flys the zensho flag for the top 15 ranks, but probably won't have an easy path to 7-0 with perennial talent Sasakiyama tomorrow and collegiate star Shodai potentially waiting for him in the final round on Day 13.

J6 Tochinowaka intai

J7 Satoyama 3-7 (1)

J8

(1) 4-6 Seiro J9 Sotairyu 4-6 (1)

J10 Akiseyama 3-7 (3)

(1) 5-5 Onosho J11 Hidenoumi 5-5 (1)

(2) 5-5 Azumaryu J12 Tokushinho 3-7 (4)

J13 Tochihiryu 3-7 (4)

(5) 3-7 Sakigake J14 Masunoyama 5-5 (3)

3-2 Kawanari Ms1 Kotoeko 3-2

3-3 Keitenkai Ms2 Horikiri 3-2

Ms3 Dewahayate 2-3

3-2 Kizenryu Ms4

3-2 Wakanoshima Ms5 Irie 2-3

Ms6 Ishiura 5-0

Edited by Asashosakari
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Just a small remark. I guess Chiyomaru needs 4 wins. 3 wins put him at 6-9, i.e. demotion.

Ganzohnesushi

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All the 5-0 contenders in this basho's lower division yusho races (Day 9/10 results and links to video where available):

Ms6w Ishiura (Miyagino)

Ms26e Sasakiyama (Kise)

Ms37w Shodai (Tokitsukaze)

---

Sd6e Okoryu (Sakaigawa)

Sd20e Ryuden (Takadagawa)

Sd26w Aonosho (Dewanoumi)

Sd32w Aomihama (Dewanoumi)

Sd70e Kotoryusei (Sadogatake)

Sd77e Kotorikuzan (Sadogatake)

---

Jd5w Tsugaruumi (Tamanoi)

Jd10e Sato (Takanohana)

Jd32w Kotoseigo (Sadogatake)

Jd58e Miyauchi (Onoe)

Jd61w Daishokai (Oitekaze)

Jd87e Dewataikai (Dewanoumi)

Jd96w Hisatsukasa (Irumagawa)

---

Jk15e Kansei (Sakaigawa)

Only three surviving zensho rikishi in makushita this time; they're trying to resolve it "in-house" by putting Shodai against Ms18w Meisei (4-1) instead of the highest-ranked sandanme representative.

Ryuden is on a 19-win streak (or 23, counting his partial appearances) and should be the favourite for the sandanme yusho as well. Okoryu and Aonosho both have lower-makushita experience though and could prove to be stumbling blocks. There's some potential for a do-beya playoff here with the two duos from Dewanoumi and Sadogatake.

The jonidan yusho race will probably come down to newcomer Sato and high-sandanme injury returnee Kotoseigo at some point - depending on how the tricky makushita and sandanme situations shake out (and how they affect the jonidan schedule), they could meet on Day 13 or perhaps only in a playoff.

Down in jonokuchi the Kansei yusho is probably inevitable - competing for a spot in juryo just 12 months ago he's now forced to rebuild his career from the very bottom. He already beat his only serious competitor Tochinohama (former mid-makushita) back on Day 8.

Edited by Asashosakari
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Just a small remark. I guess Chiyomaru needs 4 wins. 3 wins put him at 6-9, i.e. demotion.

Yep, typo...corrected. Thanks! :-)

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Thanks for doing this Asashosakari, I look forward to reading this every basho

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So, if Goeidou manages to go 8-7 to finish this basho, does he start his yokozuna run?

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Not likely. He'd have to get several double figures plus a yusho -- and somehow I don't see that happening. He might hang on to his Ozeki rank; if he doesn't he'll fight his way back, but by then there may be other contenders.

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The thing with Ryuden and Kansei shows how ridiculous no injury protection is in the sport. Its one thing to have an injured Sekiwake start back up in lower Juryo but what's the point of putting these guys up with youngins and slop while shortening their already injury-shortened career by another 8 months?

Edited by Sumozumo
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So, if Goeidou manages to go 8-7 to finish this basho, does he start his yokozuna run?

You mean he's not on one right now? He won 13 bouts recently...
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The thing with Ryuden and Kansei shows how ridiculous no injury protection is in the sport. Its one thing to have an injured Sekiwake start back up in lower Juryo but what's the point of putting these guys up with youngins and slop while shortening their already injury-shortened career by another 8 months?

One might point at other individual sports (I'm thinking of golf and tennis) that use an accumulated points system to determine the people who qualify for the top-flight events in the next year as something similar, where being out for 6 months would majorly impact the progression of your career if you were not already at the top of the sport and had enough sponsorship deals and such to stay afloat and get invitations to more tournaments than your previous year's result would normally let you. That said, there are probably a lot more people in golf and tennis that have the ability to take extended time off to heal without fully rebooting their career than the 3 that there are in Sumo. Since I don't really follow those sports, I don't know the details of how the invitations work, only that there are rankings based on accumulated performance that sometimes tie into who gets invited to things, so I can't make any really good comparisons. I know some people here follow other individual sports that seem more esoteric to this American (snooker, darts), although injuries are probably somewhat uncommon in those sports such that it's not easy to make comparisons.

At very least, these systems in individual sports can be seen in contrast to team sports, where you only need to make it clear to your coaches that you are able to compete again at the top level, and that's probably what drives most of the resentment at the system in Sumo.

edit: Apparently there are injury exemptions on the PGA Tour, and of course they're abused: http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/2014-02/undercover-pro-fake-injuries

Here's an excerpt from the ATP (Men's tennis) ranking rules:

D. Entry Protection

1) A player may petition the President, or his designee, for an entry protection when

he is physically injured and does not compete in any tennis event for a minimum

period of six (6) months. The written petition must be received within six (6) months

after his last tournament.

2) The entry protection shall be a position in the South African Airways ATP Rankings

(singles), as determined by the player's average South African Airways ATP

Rankings (singles) position during the first three (3) months of his injury. The entry

protection shall be for entry into the main draw or qualifying competition or for special

exempt consideration. The entry protection shall not be used for seeding purposes

or lucky loser consideration.

3) The entry protection shall be in effect for either the first eight (8) tournaments that

the player competes in using the entry protection (excluding wild cards and entries

as a direct acceptance with his current position in the ATP Ranking) or for the period

up to nine (9) months beginning with the first tennis event that the player competes

in, whichever occurs first.

Note that you have to take at least 6 months off, but the way the rankings system works you probably don't lose too much if you take less than that much off anyway; except for "mandatory" events, only your top so many finishes are taken into consideration.

There's also a lot of complaining online about in-game injury time-outs that many people believe are sometimes used unsportingly. http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2013/01/25/in-tennis-are-injury-timeouts-just-cheating/

So basically it's the same as it was with the kosho system; if there are injury rules, people will abuse them or at least appear to abuse them.

Edited by Gurowake

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Pardon me, but golf and tennis don't really beckon torn ligaments like taking a dive from an elevated dohyo with 150+ kilograms around the mawashi do.

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I would agree that Jonokuchi bouts of somebody like Tochinoshin or Ryuden are ridiculous indeed.

Difference with Tennis is that you can compete at No 128 in ranking in a Grand Slam, get to Semifinal and that will give enough points to enter any tournament, immediately. For somebody off the rankings there are still the Wild cards, that get them back up soon. Haas, Hingis, Clijsters? I would say, the problem doesn't exist in Tennis, the protected ranking system is rarely used and needed.

Sokokurai had his ranking protected and it didn't hurt the Banzuke much, did it?

Abusing injury rules in Sumo - funny thought. Most rikishi are more or less injured all the time. I would favor a system, where a long time Kyujo rikishi can enter one division lower than he left. That would solve the problem. I also wouldn't have a problem of a Riksihi like Aminishiki going Kyujo one basho without any additional injury. Just to have some rest, and honeymoon maybe. With reduced pay of course. With a somewhat protected ranking. I reckon that would even improve the quality of the Sumo that we see. Rikishi fighting that could barely walk ... doesn't make me happy.

But nobody asks me! Maybe I just doesn't understand the thrill. :-)

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Note that you have to take at least 6 months off, but the way the rankings system works you probably don't lose too much if you take less than that much off anyway; except for "mandatory" events, only your top so many finishes are taken into consideration.

It's not so much that only a limited set of results goes into the ranking score for each player (many players don't actually play enough that it becomes significant), it's more that the points totals are spread out so much that it doesn't matter a whole lot at the top (this is with the current ATP rankings):

67% (= four months missed) of the #1 score = still in the top 5

67% of the #10 score = still in the top 15

67% of the #20 score = still in the top 30

67% of the #50 score = still in the top 100

So the ranking descent through injury only becomes of significant concern for journeyman players (where the spread between points is lower), or when you miss so much time that your total starts heading towards zero and your descent accelerates, hence the six-month rule. And relatively to sumo any ranking drop in tennis is of course much more gradual. Not to mention the possibility of getting wildcards/invitations into high-level tournaments for which you're technically not eligible yet on merit if you're returning from an absence.

(The golf system with medically-based extensions of a player's playing status is quite messy, admittedly, but that's because the golf tours use discrete seasons instead of a rolling ranking, so there are cutoff points where a player can immediately drop from full status to no status.)

IMHO, Ozumo could do with arbitrarily limiting the scope of injury demotions, e.g.

injured in makuuchi = restart from no lower than Ms15, regardless how long the absence

injured in juryo = from Ms30

injured in Ms1-Ms15 = from Ms60

injured in Ms16-Ms30 = from Sd50

injured in Ms31-Ms60 = from Sd100

injured in sandanme or below = no protection

That's low enough in all cases that it's not overly protective, e.g. getting from Sd50 back to Ms30 still takes a 7-0 or two 6-1's at a minimum (and much longer with smaller results), but at least it would stop all these time-wasting jonokuchi, jonidan and low sandanme appearances by overqualified rikishi. Just move them off the regular banzuke and to a special "disabled list" if they've dropped below their minimum restart point, and re-attach them as tsukedashi when they're ready to return.

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What do you think about Ishiura's promotion? I guess with his sixth win today he would be certainly promoted to juryo level.

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Day 11 (results, text-only results):

So much for that exciting yusho race. Therefore, moving right along...good news for Kotoshogiku who collected win #8 at yokozuna Kakuryu's expense to shed the kadoban tag. Goeido's in a much worse position after losing to Hakuho, leaving him with three wins needed out of Kakuryu, Aoiyama, perhaps Toyonoshima and then Kotoshogiku on the final day.

It was a good day for the Kasugano trio, however, as Aoiyama and Tochinoshin both avoided makekoshi for now (against Harumafuji and Ichinojo respectively), and Tochiozan improved to 5-6 against Endo to preserve his decent shot at staying in sanyaku. Takayasu, on the other hand, is makekoshi now and has only minor chances of surviving in the titled ranks. His opponent Terunofuji remains the most credible candidate to move up, but does still need two more wins.

11-0 Hakuho Y1 Kakuryu 8-3

9-2 Harumafuji Y2

9-2 Kisenosato O1 Kotoshogiku 8-3 (o)

O2 Goeido 5-6

4-7 Aoiyama S Ichinojo 4-7

(?) 3-8 Takayasu K Tochiozan 5-6

4-7 Takarafuji M1 Tochinoshin 4-7

6-5 Terunofuji M2

(x) 3-8 Endo M3 Aminishiki 5-6

5-6 Toyonoshima M4

M5

7-4 Okinoumi M6

M7

M8

8-3 Tamawashi M9

Kagamio and Kotoyuki henka'ed their way to near-safety today, while Tokushoryu's slapdown victory at the tawara was of somewhat more impressive quality. Chiyomaru also won but remains in dire straits, but Sokokurai and Sadanofuji both lost (in pretty decisive fashion) and can't feel too safe now with two more wins needed and just four days to go.

Over in juryo things are looking increasingly good for Amuru's makuuchi return after a win over Shotenro, while Gagamaru's bellyflop against Chiyomaru will see him waiting for at least one more day. Asahisho seems to be back on track with two wins after two losses and might still put himself into this race.

M5 Chiyotairyu 1-6-4 (1)

M6 Toyohibiki 2-9 (1)

...

(2) 3-8 Sokokurai M10

...

(1) 6-5 Kotoyuki M14 Chiyomaru 4-7 (3)

(2) 5-6 Sadanofuji M15 Kagamio 6-5 (1)

(1) 7-4 Tokushoryu M16 Tosayutaka 0-2-9 (x)

(1) 7-4 Amuru J1 Wakanosato 4-7 (4)

J2 Gagamaru 8-3 (1)

(o) 10-1 Kitataiki J3 Daido 5-6 (4)

(2) 8-3 Asahisho J4

...

J8 Kagayaki 9-2 (3)

A lot of juryo rikishi staged their escape from the demotion carousel as Satoyama, Seiro and the J11 pair of Onosho and Hidenoumi all collected a crucial win today - the latter two are even looking like KK may be in reach for them. Akiseyama and Masunoyama also won and need just two more. Tokushinho and Akiseyama's opponent Tochihiryu have their backs to the wall now, however. Sakigake is already one step ahead with his potentially demotion-clinching makekoshi.

All makushita high-rankers were also in action and the prospect duo of Kawanari and Horikiri secured their kachikoshi - Kawanari can celebrate his juryo debut now, Horikiri will still have to wait a few more days to be sure, although it's looking very good for him. Their opponents Kotoeko and Kizenryu will have to hope for success in their 7th bout, along with Keitenkai who scored his third win in juryo yesterday.

Wakanoshima and Irie are also 3-3 but may be ranked too low at Ms5 to figure into the promotion race. Then again, in case the three higher-rankers all fail...we'll have to wait and see. Ishiura at 6-0 has the same issue - 7-0 would of course guarantee his promotion, at 6-1 he'll be at the mercy of the three K's. Dewahayate, however, is out of the race now after being defeated by Irie.

J6 Tochinowaka intai

J7 Satoyama 4-7 (o)

J8

(o) 5-6 Seiro J9 Sotairyu 4-7 (1)

J10 Akiseyama 4-7 (2)

(o) 6-5 Onosho J11 Hidenoumi 6-5 (o)

(2) 5-6 Azumaryu J12 Tokushinho 3-8 (4)

J13 Tochihiryu 3-8 (4)

(?) 3-8 Sakigake J14 Masunoyama 6-5 (2)

(o) 4-2 Kawanari Ms1 Kotoeko 3-3

3-3 Keitenkai Ms2 Horikiri 4-2

Ms3 Dewahayate 2-4 (x)

3-3 Kizenryu Ms4

3-3 Wakanoshima Ms5 Irie 3-3

Ms6 Ishiura 6-0

Edited by Asashosakari
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Kitataiki vanquished another yusho contender in Daieisho today, but he's had a bit of a weird schedule so far - besides Daieisho he has also beaten the other lower-ranked contender (and now only direct pursuer) Kagayaki already, while he has yet to meet Gagamaru and Asahisho even though they're ranked right next to him. Looks like the schedulers may have had an early inkling that all three might figure into the yusho decision and saved up their bouts.

Kitataiki's odd torikumi continues tomorrow with an unusual call-up to makuuchi to face Kagamio. Daieisho and Gagamaru face off in a bout that will see the loser likely eliminated from the yusho race.

Happenings in the unsalaried ranks (Day 11 results and links to video where available):

Ms6w Ishiura (Miyagino) 6-0

Ms26e Sasakiyama (Kise) 5-1

Ms37w Shodai (Tokitsukaze) 6-0

---

Sd6e Okoryu (Sakaigawa) 5-1

Sd20e Ryuden (Takadagawa) 6-0

Sd26w Aonosho (Dewanoumi) 6-0

Sd32w Aomihama (Dewanoumi) 5-0

Sd70e Kotoryusei (Sadogatake) 5-1

Sd77e Kotorikuzan (Sadogatake) 5-0

---

Jd5w Tsugaruumi (Tamanoi) 5-0

Jd10e Sato (Takanohana) 5-0

Jd32w Kotoseigo (Sadogatake) 5-0

Jd58e Miyauchi (Onoe) 5-0

Jd61w Daishokai (Oitekaze) 5-0

Jd87e Dewataikai (Dewanoumi) 5-0

Jd96w Hisatsukasa (Irumagawa) 5-1

---

Jk15e Kansei (Sakaigawa) 6-0

So we're headed for a straight yusho decider in makushita after all, thanks to Shodai putting aside Meisei today. Ryuden continued his winning ways, and should now be facing Aonosho on Day 13, while the fate of the third sandanme winner will depend on who actually wins tomorrow - Kotorikuzan is ranked low enough that he could be set against the highest surviving jonidan rikishi, Aomihama would definitely have to meet somebody from within sandanme.

Edited by Asashosakari

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11-0 Hakuho Y1 Kakuryu 8-3

9-2 Harumafuji Y2

9-2 Kisenosato O1 Kotoshogiku 8-3 (o)

O2 Goeido 5-6

Wait a minute...Goeiou miraculously closes with 4 wins here, and the rest of the Joi inexplicably sputter out, they all finish at 9-6 and Goeidou gets the jun-yusho and bam! Yokozuna run! It's happening!

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Wait a minute... Can you start a Yokozuna run with a jun-yusho shared among a bunch of guys? I thought you must have been involved in the yusho race after all.

But maybe they'll invent a special Goeido rule for that case. :-D

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Oh, he's been involved. You can see it in their eyes, as the JOI CRUMBLES BEFORE HIM. The GoieDOOM is upon them.

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On the injury discussion: Ryuden, Kansei, Tochinoshin are examples of rikishi who recover well and dominate their early opponents in the lower ranks.... but I'm sure there are other rikishi who don't make the fast climb... in fact never get anywhere near their peak after injury... so the current system may be appropriate as it's impossible to determine who bounce back....

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On the injury discussion: Ryuden, Kansei, Tochinoshin are examples of rikishi who recover well and dominate their early opponents in the lower ranks.... but I'm sure there are other rikishi who don't make the fast climb... in fact never get anywhere near their peak after injury... so the current system may be appropriate as it's impossible to determine who bounce back....

I honestly can't think of a single rikishi who took a very long leave of absence (let's say 3+ fully missed basho), staged a comeback, and completely bombed. Not that my memory is the ultimate arbiter of such things by a longshot, but here are all such rikishi from the last 5 years and I can't find anyone in there, either.

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OK... point taken -- and backed by facts.

However not all on the list went on 7-0/6-1 streaks the way Ryuden/Tochinoshin are doing/did, in fact, there were many MK records during the rises....... so the current system still may be the best.... certainly, in my opinion, better than the old kosho system.

And thanks for the query! A very interesting list.

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However not all on the list went on 7-0/6-1 streaks the way Ryuden/Tochinoshin are doing/did, in fact, there were many MK records during the rises.......

Sure, but not at the very low ranks. You don't need to start a rikishi's comeback in jonokuchi just to find out that his skill level might have dropped from Ms20 to Ms40. Starting him off somewhere in sandanme or even at Ms60 would accomplish the exact same thing without wasting six months of his time beating Moriurara types beforehand.

If there are rikishi who suffer a catastrophic loss of skill due to an injury (even after completing surgery/rehab), they'll find that out in practice, long before they're set to step on a honbasho dohyo again. And I dare say practically all of those rikishi would then decide to retire without ever having another official bout. The only ones who will actually stage comebacks are those who feel it makes sense, and nobody in that group has any conceivable reason for fighting in jonidan and jonokuchi except that it's being demanded of them.

Edited by Asashosakari
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Problem is that jonidan and jonokuchi are not some sort of "sumo development league"... Not sure if it was always so, but in recent times its simply a mix of the permanently going nowhere and the "just passing through" new guys.

Any former sekitori has no business there, no matter how injured, and can beat 99% of the guys there with one arm tied behind his back... So I agree that there's absolutely no point in dropping people that far down, it's a sad spectacle where you either see grown men fighting kids or professional athletes fighting what is essentially the cooks and servants of the sumo world...

Sure, kosho was maybe too much of a freebie, but there's a compromise between free falling and no falling at all, and the NSK would do well to find it.

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