Eye on Sumo

True sumo fanatics are not satisfied by following just the rikishi in the top two divisions. There's nothing more exciting then having a rikishi whom you've followed from the depths of the banzuke rise and make it to the top. On this page we will list some of the younger rikishi to keep your eye on. Please let us know about the rikishi you've been watching and what makes him so worth the attention. Send in your candidates to contact@sumotalk.com.

Current Sekitori whom we've followed up the ranks:  Futenoh (MS), Tokitenku (San), Kotooshu (J1), Toyonoshima (San), Kotoshogiku (San), Baruto (J1), Homasho (MS), Hochiyama (MS)

J1=Jonokuchi, J2=Jonidan, San=Sandanme, MS=Makushita.  Letters in ( ) denote from which division we began following the sekitori.

Juryo W14, Mongolia, Miyagino-beya
Who's Watching: Mike & Kenji

Mike was in Kyushu on business during the 2000 Kyushu basho (what a coincidence!) when he visited the morning keiko of Miyagino-beya. The oyakata really took Mike under his wing inviting him to observe keiko ringside while the oyakata explained the rikishi in his stable. He was particularly keen on a new Mongolian named Ryuo whose hair was still too short for the top-knot. Ryuo shot up the banzuke and found himself in the Makushita jo'i in January 2003 losing out on the yusho in a seven-man playoff. Since then, he has never made it over the sekitori hump and has been overshadowed by stable mate Hakuho, but Ryuo has now positioned himself to finally make the leap to the Juryo ranks probably only needing a 4-3 record in Haru 2006.

Makushita W31, Mongolia, Oguruma-beya
Who's Watching:  Stefan Gelow

Hoshikaze is yet another Mongolian striving for the top.  He was best known as the main rival of Kotooshu up until they reached Makushita.  Both began their careers in November 2002, and Hoshikaze followed his rival neck and neck alternating divisional yusho (Kotooshu winning Jonokuchi and Hoshikaze taking Jonidan).  Hoshikaze followed his rival up to the Makushita ranks, but has struggled in that division until recently.  Haru 2006 sees Hoshikaze at his highest rank ever where a 7-0 record will guarantee him a trip to Juryo.  While that is unlikely this basho, Hoshikaze can at least now sniff the money.

Makushita W42, China, Minato-beya
Who's Watching: Todd Lambert

Nakanokuni measures 185 cm and weighs in at 146 kg.   He's 22 (born September 1983), and entered sumo July, 2002. He has won one Sandanme division championship, and is a tsuki/oshi man. I first noticed him while watching asa-geiko at Sadogatake-beya last July before the Nagoya basho. He was practicing with some of the Makushita boys from Sadogatake, and I noticed his fighting spirit. I went to Minato-beya for chanko after they finished degeiko, and Minato-oyakata mentioned his high expectations for Nakanokuni.  This highest ranked Chinese rikishi is stalking the Makushita jo'i again in Haru 2006. (reported by Todd Lambert)

Makushita E27, Aomori, Kasugano-beya
Who's Watching:  Kenji

Kagaya is tiny...even for a rikishi in the lower ranks.  He failed to meet the height requirement stipulated by the Sumo Association for entry into the sport, but they let him in anyway.  Good decision.  He began his career 14-0 capturing both the Jonokuchi and Jonidan divisional yusho.  Kagaya got off to a rough start in the Sandanme division in September 2003 starting 0-3; however, he showed serious heart finishing the basho with three wins in his last four bouts.  Kagaya has become a mainstay in the Makushita ranks and has finally neared the jo'i, which is striking distance to become a sekitori.

Sandanme E20, Russia, Kitanoumi-beya
Who's Watching:  George Guida

Tipping the scales at a phenomenal 528 lbs. (240kg) is the largest of all active rikishi. Currently devouring the competition in Sandanme, Oorora is a BEAST! Although born and raised in captivity in the Buryat Republic of Russia, near Lake Baikal, Oorora is of Asian descent, most likely having Mongolian blood due to the proximity of Buryat to Mongolia. Onogawa Oyagata tried to get Oorora to lose some weight by putting on him on an apple diet, but the leviathanís hunger cannot be sated; it knows no limits! Oorora actually gained 2kg and the experimental diet was put to rest! It is reported that he has been able to devour 100 plates of sushi at one sitting and during the summer will eat an entire box of mikans and consume an entire watermelon whole. And perhaps best of all, Oorora is downright nasty. He is ugly, but a very cool ugly, unlike uncool ugly in Otsukasa. Besides ice skating as a youngster, Oorora has no other sports experience, making him even more of a genetic freak. With the absence over the past few years of Konishiki, Akebono and Musashimaru, Oorora is in line to be the next big-time player in monster sumo. (George Guida)

Jonidan W15, Mongolia, Shikoroyama-beya
Who's Watching: Mike

Seiroh, or the blue wolf, has arrived from Mongolia. This 16 year old joins former Makuuchi rikishi Terao's stable, Shikoroyama-beya. Seiroh's father reached Sekiwake status in Mongolian sumo and is said to be a friend of Asashoryu's father...a connection that helped get him introduced to sumo.  Seiroh's sport background consists of just basketball, but his 183 cm 83 kilo frame even had Asashoryu commenting on his potential. Seiroh took the first character in his shikona from Asashoryu and states that he emulates, who else, Asashoryu.

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