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Iwagakki

thoughts on the year

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Hehe, right. Must have been something else. It's just an arbitrary example anyway. I also could have said "Just look at 1989 when the aliens invaded the earth." and nobody would bat an eyelid. Except Kotoseiya. (Blushing...)

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Could be a SPOILER, so if you haven't been following the honbasho stop reading.

With one day left, the year has been decided. Asa broke the record. Osh is going to be an Ozeki and beating Asa and Taikai means that he earned it. This I guess is the final news for the year. Had Bart not injured himself before Kyushu we could have had a third headline. I guess this will be how I remember it.

I hope Osh becomes a rival. He is still only 22. He has balance, he might put on a bit of weight. His promotion feels well earned. He didn't sneak behind stronger rikishi in his heya like Miyabiyama. He wasn't a perenial sanyaku like Tochiazuma who moved up when the pool of Yokazuna and Ozeki faltered. He gained promotion based on his sumo.

Predicting the future of a rikishi so new to the sport will be difficult. I don't know if he is yet able to do his own sumo. If he can develope a dominate style, then we may see great things. Let's hope for great things and a bit more competition next year.

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Interesting thoughts, Iwagakki.

As for me, I'm feeling a bit of a "changing of the guard" has happened. Not in the big picture, sumo-world shaking sense, I guess, but for me personally. A lot of the guys who have been familiar names since I first became truly interested in sumo (some of whom were never really very good) are suddenly gone as active rikishi (of course, the top rankers from back then have been gone for a while).

Gojoro, Kotonowaka, and Yotsukasa, all retired over the last couple weeks. Wakanoyama retired in August. IMO Dejima, who I first became interested in from "Sumo Digest" on ESPN (they always seemed to be running one particular basho when he was a Komusubi trying to reach Sekiwake - and I *think* Kotonowaka was one of his rivals in those episodes), is not even a shadow of his former self and should really have been gone a long time ago instead of becoming yet another "elevator rikishi" (let's not even get into Kaio and Chiyotaikai).

I guess the end of 2005 is just sad for me.

OTOH, I look forward to 2006.

What Asashoryu will do next? (Dohyo-iri...) Will Kotooshu bring respectability back to the ranks of the Ozeki, or will he become another of those promoted too soon? (Osh...) Will Tochiazuma, Kaio, and Chiyotaikai ever get it together? (Lifting weights...) Will Hakuho? (Dohyo-iri...) Will Futeno? :-) Will Ama get squished on the doyho? (Lifting weights...) Will Baruto live up to the hype? (Bart...) Will the new year bring a new Yokozuna? (Exercising...) Who will retire? (Exercising...) Who will Mrs. Uchidate pick on next? (Punk rocker...) Who will be the next "great Japanese hope"? :-)

It's going to be interesting, and maybe fun too, to find out. (Bow...)

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Reading all the above comments I'm just wondering how was it when Taiho, Chyonofuji or Kitanoumi were so dominating?

The fans were also so bored and fed up with those guys?

(Probably, yes.....considering it's a human nature)

i was thinking the exact same thing, but im sure as most people like to over dramatize things they hate and under critisize the things they like, im sure the answers will be "oh no times then where great when Taiho won all the yusho, but Asa makes sumo boreing."

its not Asa's fault no one else will step up to his level.

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Actually it's true that after the initial excitement wore off and his dominance continued, there were quite a few empty seats in the arena during the Taiho's later years (well at least in those video I saw).

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My Hakuho/Asashoryu thoughts. Hakuho seemingly lost some of his nastiness when he was injured in Aki. If I had to hazard a guess, this is a young man who doesn't get hurt very often, and is therefore taking it slowly coming back. That, I believe is the difference between Hakuho and Asashoryu. If/when Hakuho can mentally get over this ankle injury, I think his mind will be more on his sumo, and he will start putting up the double digit wins again.

I've found what I think to be two great examples in the movies to display how Hakuho has changed. The first movie is from Hatsu of this year, pre-injury, pre-weight gain(I also think that he hasn't adjusted to this either) and the second is post-injury, post-weight gain. The bouts are similar, with Chiyotaikai showing good Chiyo-sumo, pushing Hakuho to the edge more than once, but in the second movie, Hakuho seems to be slower and more hesitant to me.

Hakuho/Chiyotaikai Hatsu 2005

Hakuho/Chiyotaikai Kyushu 2005

Do I think that Hakuho will be Ozeki some day? Maybe, if he can mentally get over this injury.

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My Hakuho/Asashoryu thoughts. Hakuho seemingly lost some of his nastiness when he was injured in Aki. If I had to hazard a guess, this is a young man who doesn't get hurt very often, and is therefore taking it slowly coming back. That, I believe is the difference between Hakuho and Asashoryu. If/when Hakuho can mentally get over this ankle injury, I think his mind will be more on his sumo, and he will start putting up the double digit wins again.

I've found what I think to be two great examples in the movies to display how Hakuho has changed. The first movie is from Hatsu of this year, pre-injury, pre-weight gain(I also think that he hasn't adjusted to this either) and the second is post-injury, post-weight gain. The bouts are similar, with Chiyotaikai showing good Chiyo-sumo, pushing Hakuho to the edge more than once, but in the second movie, Hakuho seems to be slower and more hesitant to me.

Hakuho/Chiyotaikai Hatsu 2005

Hakuho/Chiyotaikai Kyushu 2005

Do I think that Hakuho will be Ozeki some day? Maybe, if he can mentally get over this injury.

Well I think of a more simple explanation to explain the difference between the two: lack of training (and getting fatter because of that).

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Somebody (I forget who, sorry) had this reaction in the chat during the final days of the basho when Hakuho fell apart again: "Hakuho already looks washed up." I know I defended the guy against some "what a loser" type comments just a few months ago, but I'm starting to wonder if the injury is really all that is to his recent slump, or if he's also lost his ambition (or never really had it).

I think I won't get too much criticism if I say that Hakuho has more raw talent that Asashoryu ever had. I don't have his entire career records in front of me now, but AFAIR Hakuho's way through the lower ranks wasn't completely without setbacks (it never is for those who joined at age 16, obviously), but overall he never had any protracted period of time when he seriously got stuck on his rise. That only accelerated after he made it to Juryo and shortly after to Makuuchi...the competition just wasn't good enough to stop him.

And then came the 8-7 reality check in March. No injury problems, just lots of attention on his Ozeki run...and his devil-may-care attitude was gone just like that, and hasn't really returned at any point since. I wonder if he came to realize that being consistently great is, well, hard, and figured that being a sanyaku regular is a good enough second-best, and doesn't even require all that much effort thanks to his abundant natural talent. The money isn't that much worse as a Sanyaku or Maegashira (and it's even partially offset by the possibility to win sansho), and you're under a lot less pressure to perform consistently great.

Assuming the analysis is correct, the injury has seemingly only served to reinforce that change. There are still occasional flashes of brilliance in Hakuho's sumo, but he doesn't seem to exude that special something that makes you think, "this guy is looking for a bigger prize" anymore. In other words, he's the new Wakanosato.

I hope I'm wrong.

Edited by Asashosakari

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In other words, he's the new Wakanosato.
...or the new Kotomitsuki, to drop another name.

I think it's one out of two with Hakuho: either You're right and he's settling into a slump, or he is in an experimenting stage, trying out how different things work out on the dohyo and searching for the one Hakuho who will have the most successful approach in the near future. I think the latter is what's going on with Ama at the moment. This basho he deliberately turned to head-on oshi-sumo, which worked rather well now and then. The difference is that Hakuho hit more wrong notes than better ones. Let's hope he'll find a sound sumo again soon.

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the guy haven't even got a real MK in his sekitori career ... he is good even when in a "slumb". Imagine what he could do when he snaps out of it (whether it is the body or the psycological injury)

i still have high hopes for him and i expect him to become a good Ozeki in a year or so ...

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I had an opinion, and I felt like writing a little bit. That's all. Sumoforum might be slightly less interesting if nobody was allowed to post anything that you didn't specifically agree with.

Hah, that should be in my sig.

Yogurt had lost me going into the past Basho and I was pretty sure he wasn't going to get Ozeki if he had to earn it by moving forward - but he did. They guy posted 36 over 3 basho adapting to Ozeki sumo under intense pressure and came out looking stronger than ever. The big question with him is nerves but I think that now that the real pressure is off he's going to relax and allow his own style to develop. I also think he's getting better faster then the meatgrinders can deal with. My prediction for '06 is a handfull of Jun-Yushos and possible Yokozuna promotion as Mahlyanov settles in as Dagvadorj's first new Ozeki.

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i still have high hopes for him and i expect him to become a good Ozeki in a year or so ...

Aside from his injury I personally think Hakuho got in his head that he is so good that he can compete with 'Yokozuna Sumo' and let his opponent coming over to him and then respond accordingly agasint him.

Asashoryu can play that game and win 95% of the time but not Hakuho, not yet at least. Though he may one day. I watched old Futabayama pictures and read his bouts and he was very much like Hakuho befoe he got so good that there wasn't any opponent who could beat him.

Hakuho sounds pretty upset that Kotooshu got to Ozeki first so that should be incentive enough for him to come strong next year. If he gets there, Asashoryu has to face an Ozeki a third of the basho if all remain healthy and not retire.

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i still have high hopes for him and i expect him to become a good Ozeki in a year or so ...

Aside from his injury I personally think Hakuho got in his head that he is so good that he can compete with 'Yokozuna Sumo' and let his opponent coming over to him and then respond accordingly agasint him.

Asashoryu can play that game and win 95% of the time but not Hakuho, not yet at least. Though he may one day. I watched old Futabayama pictures and read his bouts and he was very much like Hakuho befoe he got so good that there wasn't any opponent who could beat him.

Hakuho sounds pretty upset that Kotooshu got to Ozeki first so that should be incentive enough for him to come strong next year. If he gets there, Asashoryu has to face an Ozeki a third of the basho if all remain healthy and not retire.

I tend to agree about Hakuho; he just stalled for awhile and needed a nice wake-up of the sort Osh just gave him. Asa better enjoy his memories of this year, because he's not gonna get anything like it ever again. Osh is already becoming a serious threat, Hakuho will be once he gets the cobwebs out, and there are a lot of hungry young guys within 3-4 basho's striking distance. this year was a little blah, but next year looks to be very interesting.

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