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2013 Natsu Post-basho Report
| Pre-basho report Helmut Newton sumo.
It's no secret that the Sumo
Association is desperate for a Japanese rikishi to win a yusho, and if they
could actually get one of their own promoted to Yokozuna, it would help restore
face with the Japanese fans--something the sport is actually losing with each
passing basho where the Japanese rikishi fail to deliver (i.e. each passing
basho). With that in mind, the Natsu basho contained about as much drama as any
tournament we've seen the last little while, and of course most of it had
nothing to do with the sumo itself.
An explanation of what transpired at the Natsu basho is best given by an
analysis of Sekiwake Goeido starting from last year's Kyushu basho. At that
tournament, Goeido shot out to an 8-0 start only to be rebuffed on consecutive
days by both Yokozuna on his way to an 11-4 finish. As part of that effort,
Goeido bested all five Ozeki and was immediately named the "Ozeki Killer" and
touted as a prime Ozeki candidate heading into the Hatsu basho. Unfortunately,
Goeido remembered that he was still Goeido in January floundering to an 8-7
finish requiring a few gifts along the way to eke out kachi-koshi on senshuraku.
Still, as the sumo caravan headed into Osaka, Takanohana continued to hit the PR
trail hard touting Goeido as an Ozeki candidate, and the Father actually
finished the Haru basho at 10-5, but the gifted bouts were still obvious. Then,
at the recent Natsu basho, there wasn't a peep mentioned about Goeido's Ozeki
candidacy prior to the basho where the Sekiwake ended up a dubious 7-8.
Now, it was clear that the Sumo Association wanted Goeido to be promoted to
Ozeki, and they milked his run for all they could in terms of marketing, but at
what cost are they willing to get him promoted? If they really wanted to, they
could easily orchestrate a Goeido Ozeki run that would see him nab the required
33 wins over three basho from the sanyaku, but then what do you do after that?
Do you leave him to his own power, which would clearly result in a 6 or 7 win
basho? Or do you keep feeding him three or four wins every basho just to make it
look as if he's Ozeki material? Those two propositions are both lose-lose not to
mention extremely risky in having the hungry tabloids regurgitate talk of
yaocho, and so the Sumo Association's current agenda is this: let's do all we
can to market the Japanese rikishi and make them look competitive while
maintaining the integrity of the sport to the extent possible. I must reiterate
that I do not believe that the Sumo Association orders certain rikishi to win
and certain rikishi to lose. Rather, I believe the stable master and/or the
rikishi reads the current situation and then acts accordingly in a manner that
fits the aforementioned agenda established by the Association.
With that in mind, let's now shift our focus to Kisenosato and his performance
at the Natsu basho. After coming back against Myogiryu in suspect fashion on day
1, the Ozeki would not face another kachi-koshi rikishi until day 10 in
Kotooshu. By then he was 9-0 and clearly on a run resulting in four straight
foreign rikishi going at him about as hard as I get when viewing pictures of
Chaz Bono. Next thing you know, he's now 13-0 heading into his day 14 contest
with Hakuho having achieved really nothing. If you let him beat Hakuho and then
Kotoshogiku on senshuraku, he's just posted a 15-0 record that looks nothing
like a zensho yusho. Furthermore, how do you get him to a similar plateau in
Nagoya? You do it by arranging bouts, and that's a proposition that just gets
too risky. Instead, Hakuho gave him an opening on day 14, which the Ozeki could
not capitalize on, and then Kotoshogiku just destroyed him on senshuraku because
Kisenosato like everyone else was surely thinking, "he's gonna let me win this
one." If you watch the Kisenosato - Harumafuji and then Kisenosato - Kotoshogiku
bouts back to back, nothing makes sense in either of them, and that is a sign
that there are indeed shenanigans going on, but the Association is still going
to make a Japanese rikishi earn it to an extent.
As the dust settled on the tournament, Kisenosato finished 13-2 and Yokozuna
promotion talk began about five minutes later. The Association and even
Kisenosato are in a much better place heading into Nagoya with the Kid at 13-2
than they would have been with a zensho yusho. Expect Kisenosato to receive a
few party favors in Nagoya, but he's still largely got to earn it. At the end of
the Natsu basho, I'm sure all of you banzuke geeks are thinking: wow, what are
they going to do about the sanyaku with only one rikishi scoring kachi-koshi
from Sekiwake all the way down to M4 with both M5's only finishing 8-7? I look
at it this way: wow, look how bad everyone from Sekiwake all the way down to M4
royally sucked except for Myogiryu. The reason I even bring this up is to take
the discussion back to Kisenosato. Simply put, he pounded the rikishi between
Sekiwake and M4, received a few favors from the foreign rikishi in week
2, and ended up skating to a 13-2 finish. Now, is that same performance
plausible in Nagoya? As an old, Japanese lady testing her English out on me once
said to my surprise, "you bet your buns they are!" The banzuke will continue to
suck in Nagoya; the foreign rikishi will continue to go easy on Kisenosato; and
our candidate for Yokozuna only needs to be good and not great. Oh, and he needs
to take Kotoshogiku more seriously next time.
I like how the YDC came out on Monday and said we will consider promotion with a
yusho or if Kisenosato fails to yusho at 14-1. Right on. Raise the bar and keep
yourself in a good position. Sure, they could easily orchestrate a zensho yusho
for Kisenosato in Nagoya, but once again...at what cost? He's clearly not a
rikishi that can sustain such numbers, and it's just too risky to keep feeding
him gifted bouts on a consistent basis. Make the Kid beat the scrub rikishi;
make him earn 11 - 12 of his wins; and then let the chips fall where they may.
Regardless of what happens, the Sumo Association now has a helluva topic to
market from now until day 1.
With those pleasantries out of the way, let's now focus on the individual
rikishi starting with Yokozuna Hakuho, who scored his second consecutive zensho
yusho. Since the Yokozuna lost the final day in January, he's only riding a 30
bout win streak. (Only). The numbers clearly show that when Hakuho dominates
multiple basho in a row that interest in sumo wanes, so you can expect him too
cool off in July. You look at a list of his kimari-te spanning the 15 wins, and
he used 10 different techniques to get there. That's clearly a sign of the
Yokozuna holding back and letting his opponents stay in the game. When your
kimari-te are all over the board, your sumo's all over the board, and with the
best rikishi in the history of the sport, he's only sloppy if he so chooses.
Only four yori-kiri wins against this crappy banzuke? I've said it before and
I'll say it again in that Hakuho has controlled the yusho race even before
Asashoryu's retirement, and he will continue to do so until someone is able to
rise up beyond Harumafuji's current level. Hakuho's performance is reflected in
his kimari-te. In other words, he gave a few rikishi openings but beat 'em all
in the end.
If Hakuho's winning techniques were sloppy, Yokozuna Harumafuji's weren't much
better, but Thing 2 was taken out of this basho early with a string of tachi-ai
henka against him that ended up in one loss against Myogiryu and then another on
day 5 to Tochiohzan when the Yokozuna was clearly wary at the tachi-ai. After
those early week 1 losses, which were largely flukes, Harumafuji simply
fulfilled his role the rest of the way backing out against Kisenosato on day 12
and then looking horrific against Hakuho on senshuraku to complete his 11-4
performance. That final bout on senshuraku was a bit disturbing, but I believe
it did illustrate the vast gulf that exists between Hakuho and everyone else.
Who knows what the future holds for Harumafuji? He's got his; he's living fat;
and he can go through the motions on this banzuke and still win 12.
I've already talked at length regarding Kisenosato, so let's move across the
aisle to Ozeki Kakuryu, who I think is clearly the third best rikishi on the
banzuke right now. After starting out 8-0, he gave away his day 9 bout against
Kotoshogiku, got beat straight up by Hakuho on day 12, let Kisenosato win on day
13, was bested by Harumafuji a day later, and then let Kotooshu beat him on
senshuraku giving the Bulgarian a kachi-koshi on the final day. If you're
scoring at home, that's two legitimate losses and three gifts. In other words,
Kakuryu is your true 13-2 rikishi this basho, but there's no use rehashing the
politics behind it. Kakuryu is a foreigner who knows his place and is perfectly
content to fulfill his role in sumo. Like Kisenosato, he just thrashed the
weaker banzuke and kept himself on the leaderboard until bowing out against the
Kid on day 13.
Props to Ozeki Kotoshogiku for taking care of bidness as well against the
rikishi ranked below him. Sure, Goeido and Myogiryu both got him, but so what? I
credit the Geeku for taking advantage of the banzuke and for going all out
against Kisenosato. I also look at his list of kimari-te and go 'that's a guy
who was fighting straight up.' His first seven wins all against guys ranked
lower than him were by yori-kiri. Check. He next defeated Aoiyama by uwate-nage
before dispatching Aran by another yori-kiri. Check and check. He finished the
slippery Toyonoshima off by oshi-dashi and beat Kisenosato so badly they ruled
it yori-taoshi. It's the Geeku doing his own sumo and seeing the results. His
11-4 finish is more due to the banzuke than to a resurgence in his sumo, but he
deserves his props.
Can we say the same thing for Ozeki Kotooshu? Even as a kadoban Ozeki, he still
only managed to pull out eight wins and needed a gift from Kakuryu on senshuraku
to get it. The Bulgarian definitely earned his way into the rank all those years
ago, but he has been nothing but rank for the last couple of years. The problem
is...it's just so damn hard to get demoted from Ozeki. Also, I've never seen
anyone with less self control at the edge of the dohyo than Kotooshu. He suffers
some bad losses that leave him in the fetal position at the bottom of the dohyo,
and then when he wins the close bouts, he doesn't know when to stop driving his
foes several rows into the crowd. Dude's just in this for the steady paycheck,
not to improve himself or contribute in any way.
In the Sekiwake ranks, Goeido had two decent wins on paper against Tochiohzan
and Kotoshogiku, but the winning techniques were kubi-nage and okuri-nage
respectively. That's a result of evasive and defensive sumo, so I'll be
impressed once Goeido starts beating yotsu guys by yori-kiri. It seems that
every pre-basho I read about a Yokozuna or Ozeki doing keiko with him and then
giving him advice to just trust himself with forward-moving sumo. Until he can
do that, Goeido will continue to be a non-factor in sumo. As for counterpart
Baruto, he was dealt a bit of a rough schedule up front with 3 Ozeki and then
Tochiohzan the first week, but not winning a single bout against those guys does
not bode well in terms of consistent appearances in the sanyaku let alone a shot
at Ozeki again. His withdrawal with an injury signals a decline from here on out
in his career, and the fact that he's been going kyujo nearly every other basho
illustrates how his career is winding down.
If they were holding a draft, and everyone was creating new stables from
scratch, my first pick from the crop of Japanese rikishi would probably
Chiyotairyu. After that, I think I'd take Tochiohzan second and then Kisenosato
third. That doesn't mean that Kisenosato isn't the best Japanese rikishi
currently, but when factoring in potential, that'd be my order. In other words,
I think quite highly of Komusubi Tochiohzan, so I was disappointed in his 6-9
finish. The Komusubi are given the toughest schedules of anyone, but Oh actually
beat Harumafuji and Baruto on consecutive days in week 1, so not to ride that
momentum the rest of the way was disappointing. The difference between his 6-9
record and kachi-koshi were bad losses to Shohozan and Okinoumi. I think they'll
slide Goeido one slot to the West keeping him at Sekiwake for Nagoya, but at
6-9, it's a long shot for Tochiohzan to maintain the Komusubi rank. I still
think he deserves it, but I'll take him at M1.
Counterpart Okinoumi had the worst performance at this rank since the Eastern
Europeans used to rise this high. He gave no effort the entire fortnight and was
a waste of space at the basho. I used to be a big fan of this guy, but not
anymore as he gave up from day 1.
M1 Myogiryu was the only bright spot below the Ozeki ranks, but still, he used a
little trickery on his way to 11 wins. Credit MYogi Bear for pasting the weak
banzuke this time around, but his win over Harumafuji didn't impress me thanks
to his henka and beating both Sadogatake Ozeki in a single basho is about as
difficult as a white guy managing to get a girl to speak to him in Japan. Anyone
notice how the Association didn't give this guy a Shukunsho even though he beat
a Yokozuna? I applaud the move because why reward a guy for improper sumo? He
did bring home the Ginosho, the one special prize awarded this basho, but that
goes back to what I said in my intro about the excitement surrounding this basho
having everything to do with bout orchestration and little to do with the actual
It gets ugly fast after Myogiryu, and I really don't have any light to shed on
M2 Kitataiki (4-2), M2 Tochinoshin (2-13), and M3 Aran (4-11) who all quit this
basho. M3 Takarafuji got his add handed to him starting out 0-8, but that's
largely due to his schedule, so good on him for finishing the festivities 6-1.
That's what I call effort...something we didn't see from the other three yayhoos
mentioned in this paragraph.
What are M4's Aoiyama and Toyonoshima doing suffering make-koshi on this banzuke
outside of the jo'i? Aoiyama's 0-10 finish after that 5-0 was even stranger than
the dudes that make up the crowds at those concerts for B-list pop idols in
Japan. If you attend a concert and they hand out glow sticks...and you actually
use them in concert with guys on either side of you, welcome to a life of
We have to get down to the M5's Shohozan and Takayasu before we find two
kachi-koshi rikishi although both just squeaked by at 8-7. Once again, if you're
a rikishi aspiring to make the sanyaku or at least establish a presence in the
division, you've got to do better than this from outside of the jo'i.
Case in point is M8 Tokitenku's who managed a 10-5 finish, but he will be
thrashed next month in Nagoya.
You already know how high I am on M10 Chiyotairyu, who finished 10-5 and was a
win against Myogiryu away from picking up the Kantosho. Chiyotairyu isn't
exactly going to storm through the field in Nagoya, but what's important is that
he gains experiencing fighting the better rikishi in the division, and once he
gets used to that, I really think he's going to be the one mentioned as a
candidate for Ozeki.
Let's conclude with our four rookies, none of whom managed to kachi-koshi let
alone win more than six bouts. I think the best of the lot is M14 Chiyootori who
started out hot at 5-2 but then lost seven in a row to ruin his basho. This kid
kinda reminds me of Masunoyama without the lung issue. In other words, he looks
great the first three seconds but then needs to learn how to finish. The thing I
most appreciated about Chiyootori next to all the O's in his shikona was his
hard, straight forward tachi-ai. This kid will be back, and with a host of
sekitori in his stable, I expect him to have a decent Makuuchi career.
M15 Homarefuji won't, and this is an example of a guy who can now display a
banzuke in his future chanko-nabe shop that shows him as a Makuuchi
rikishi. I watched him fight for 15 days and still couldn't tell you what his
style is. Add his age to the mix, and he's one and done.
M16 Azumaryu was passive and defensive throughout the basho. His Mongolian blood
alone will likely see him back in the division, but he didn't show me anything
at the Natsu basho.
And finally, M16 Daikiho had the worst debut of anyone I've seen since
Takanoyama. You'd think that coming from the same stable as Hakuho that he'd
learn what a solid tachi-ai is, but he was clueless at the charge...and then it
got worse as the bout progressed. If this is the kind of rikishi the Juryo
division is feeding us, there is no end in sight to the current state of sumo.
2013 Natsu Pre-basho ReportHelmut Newton sumo.
For nearly two weeks I've
scrutinized the headlines in the Japanese media attempting to get a feel for
some of the talking points this basho, but for the first time in a long time, I
don't see any sort of agenda being fed to the sumo masses. Most noticeably, I
have yet to read the words "Goeido" and "Ozeki" in the same sentence, so it
appears that the Association has thankfully given up in their campaign to hype
the Osaka native into the prestigious rank. With Goeido out of the spotlight,
most of the domestic coverage has gone to the two Komusubi in Tochiohzan and
Tochiohzan has kept himself in the sanyaku for half a year now despite deferring
bouts here and there each basho, and he has established himself as the best
Japanese rikishi on the banzuke outside of the Ozeki ranks. Hailing from Kochi
Prefecture on the smallest and least-known of Japan's main four islands,
Shikoku, the Association really can't hype him for any particular basho as they
did Goeido leading up to Osaka. And if Tochiohzan comes from the middle of
nowhere, what say ye of Okinoumi, who hails from a prefecture so remote he's the
first dude from Shimane in 122 years to reach the sanyaku. It's also become
apparent in the various media reports that Okinoumi is a slacker when it comes
to keiko and concentrating on sumo in general. Dude is the best looking rikishi
in the division, but there's really not much there for the Association to hype,
and so it's been a very low key pre-basho.
I wish I had something more compelling to lead with, but it just isn't there.
This is also about as balanced of a banzuke as you could ask for, and the only
dude who is out of position is Goeido, so this should be a straight up basho by
all indications. Let's examine the key rikishi starting from the top.
Speaking of a low key pre-basho, Yokozuna Hakuho has been as relaxed as he's
ever been. He's only gone for de-geiko a couple of days and has not put in the
number of practice bouts in comparison to previous tournaments. Thing is...it
just doesn't matter. Hakuho showed last basho that he can easily win 15 bouts in
his sleep, and so I expect a repeat performance of Osaka. That isn't to say he's
going to run the table again; I'm saying he's going to leave himself vulnerable
in places, and if his opponent can capitalize then they capitalize. If not,
Hakuho will score his career 10th zensho yusho, but regardless, there's a 70%
chance he hoists the cup in the end.
The number stands at 70% for Hakuho simply because Harumafuji has at least a 20%
chance, but it's probably closer to 25. Prior to Osaka, the media kept making
excuses for Harumafuji like it was unseasonably cold, and then there was talk of
nagging injuries, so I fully expected him to fall out of things early on, but
this time around the reports have been straight up. Early in the first week of
basho preparations, it was reported that Harumafuji tweaked his elbow, and the
next day he showed up to keiko with a heavy supporter around the joint, but he
ripped it off mid session and there's been no talk of it since. I get the sense
that this will be a very straight up basho, so watch for Harumafuji to stay nip
and tuck with Hakuho until senshuraku. I see the Mongolian winning 13 or so.
Kisenosato very well could be the best Ozeki on the board right now, but that's
not saying a whole lot. The Kid has gone through the usual pre-basho motions,
and you can expect the usual out of him in May: 11 wins.
Deep down, I think Kakuryu is really the best Ozeki, but his results the last
few basho haven't reflected that. I do think that the Kak realizes his place and
goes mukiryoku multiple days each basho, but there just hasn't been any
news good or bad surrounding this Ozeki. Look for 9 - 10 wins.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku can probably win eight bouts all by himself every other basho,
but even that's being nice. His body just has too many miles on it at this
point, and he can't keep up wit the younger rikishi who surround him on the
banzuke. I expect him to pull out another magical eight wins in May but nothing
If there is a storyline in the Ozeki ranks, it's Kotooshu and his kadoban
status. I read a keiko report early on where the Bulgarian stated he thinks this
is the worst injury of his career. Those early reports also had him refraining
from moushi-geiko and picking his spots carefully in the practice ring. The week
leading up to the basho, I haven't read anything about his keiko, which tells me
there's been nothing of substance to write about. It does not look good for
Kotooshu this basho because like his stablemate, he's gotta lotta miles on that
frame'a his. I don't see him winning more than eight, but we've seen Ozeki
sandbag before. We should know by day 3 if he's still fit to be a headliner.
Beyond the two Yokozuna, the most positive keiko news has come from Sekiwake
Baruto. I've read multiple sources that have said Baruto looks to be completely
healthy again, and it's been showing in the keiko ring. He's easily the third
best rikishi on the banzuke when healthy, so I expect him to establish an Ozeki
run starting this basho. It will be inneresting to see what standard the
Association holds him to the second time around, but I expect him to dominate in
Tokyo this month. I like him to win around 11.
I guess I skipped over our East Sekiwake, Goeido, but I've already touched on
him in my early remarks. Goeido is like Kotoshogiku...he can win eight bouts by
himself every other basho...maybe. The Sumo Association realizes that there just
isn't anything there to hype, so it will be interesting to see if he's allowed
to keep his current post or whether he's just thrown to the wolves and forced to
fend for his own. I expect the Father to hover around 7-8 wins since nothing in
his keiko regimen or mindset has changed for this tournament.
I've already talked about both Komusubi, but in regards to their chances this
basho, Tochiohzan should win around nine while Okinoumi's false modesty is going
to translate into a nonchalant basho atop the dohyo. I see Okinoumi winning no
more than six bouts.
In the rank and file, Myogiryu leads the way from the M1 rank, and it was the
Natsu basho last year where mYogiBear really made his surge into the sanyaku
maintaining that status for three straight basho. But all of a sudden, he
abandoned his balls to the wall charge, and he's looking more like Goeido than
the feisty rikishi who promised to be a sanyaku mainstay a year ago. I like
Myogiryu from this rank but only if he charges hard and focuses strictly on
forward-moving sumo. Seven wins.
Aminishiki is on par right now with Tochiohzan, but he has deferred multiple
bouts basho after basho now. With no clear agenda being broadcast in the media
prior to Natsu, I don't see the need for Shneaky to really give up a bout to
anyone besides Kotoshogiku. Of all the rikishi in the Maegashira ranks,
Aminishiki has the best shot to reclaim Okinoumi's Komusubi slot. I like him to
I don't see any reason why the M2's, Kitataiki and Tochinoshin, will impact the
basho, so let's move on.
I guess I spoke too soon when I said Goeido was the most over ranked rikishi on
the board because Takarafuji moves into the M3 slot. I actually hope Takarafuji
brings a bit of energy that he's been wont to display lower in the ranks, but
usually when guys who you know aren't going anywhere debut in the jo'i, it ain't
pretty. Four wins? And speaking of not looking pretty, counterpart Aran just
gives up at this level, so expect nothing more from the Russian.
On one hand, I'm afraid M4 Aoiyama has peaked because after he reached Komusubi
last September, he hasn't been able to do jack; but on the other hand, he has
been nagged with injuries, so perhaps he's got one more run in him. The problem
is, though, he hasn't looked injured to me yet this year, and he's still
floundering around the dohyo. He's a borderline kachi-koshi guy because he's
just out of the jo'i. Those who have been following sumo for ten years or so
know that Toyonoshima and Kotoshogiku were actually rivals as they raced each
other up the banzuke. Both dudes entered sumo in the same class, and their
climbs up the ranks were largely in tandem. Kotoshogiku's size advantage has
seen him promoted to the Ozeki rank, but just like the Ozeki, Toyonoshima's got
a lot of miles on that body. You remember last year that Toyonoshima was
bouncing in and out of the sanyaku, but he hasn't threatened the elite ranks for
four basho now, and I don't see him doing so now. He may squeak out eight this
basho, but I don't' expect a big run from him.
M5 is a compelling rank because you have two young rikishi, one a former
Komusubi in Shohozan, and one who has flirted with the rank in Takayasu. If
these two are going to be a presence in the division for the years to come, they
really need to make their runs soon. These two are still unpolished in their
sumo, but the potential is there. I like both of these guys to win eight in May.
I normally love the M6 rank but not with Yoshikaze and Takekaze there. Then you
look down at M7 with Fujiazuma/Jokoryu and M8 with Tokitenku/Sadanofuji and you
may as well be five ranks from the bottom.
Defending Natsu basho champion, Kyokutenho, checks in at M9, but this guy has
physically hit the wall. There comes a time in each veteran rikishi's career
where you can physically see them lose it...literally over the course of one
basho. The last such rikishi was Miyabiyama, and up next is Kyokutenho. Up until
the start of this year, Kyokutenho could skate his way to eight wins from
anywhere on the banzuke, but he no longer has it. And by that I mean the
ability to keep himself in the division. I'm not saying he's going to go 2-13
and retire, but he is in visible decline and likely won't make it past the end
of twenty thirteen.
The biggest wildcard in sumo right now straight up is M10 Chiyotairyu. It was
just one basho ago where he jumped out to that 3-1 start from the M2 rank only
to succumb to an injury that caused him to withdraw. His sumo is still so raw,
but he's strong enough to make the kind of impact that Baruto made when he was a
young bruiser. I haven't read anything regarding his condition pre-basho, so I'm
not prepared to make a prediction of how he'll finish, but it is worth noting
that he's got as much potential as anyone.
I speculated earlier as to whether or not Aoiyama has peaked, and the same can
be said for M11 Gagamaru. If Lord Gaga can't kachi-koshi from these parts, he's
in deep trouble.
Let's conclude by mentioning the four rookies: Chiyootori, Homarefuji, Azumaryu,
and Daikiho. I haven't seen any of these guys fight, but you could say that all
of them have at least something going for them whether it's youth, a prominent
stable, or nationality. Of the four, I think Chiyootori and Daikiho have the
most upside due to their youth and their connection to dai-Yokozuna from their
stables. Azumaryu's being Mongolian alone qualifies him with a bit of upside,
and then the obvious caboose is Homarefuji. True, he does come from the
Isegahama-beya, but he's closer to 30 than he is 25, and late bloomers never pan
It's not the most exciting of pre-basho reports, but then again, there really
hasn't been anything exciting to talk about. Let's hope the sumo is as straight
up as the pre-basho keiko. Here are my predictions:
Yusho: Hakuho (14-1)