Aki 2020 | Basho Recap

The 2020 Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo got underway on September 13, in the absence of both Yokozuna who are trying to heal many years’ worth of pain and injuries. A lot of other wrestlers took time off this basho as well. Ishiura didn’t start until midway through, coming back to get just 4 wins.

Fan favorite Kotoshogiku really struggled, taking four days to rest a calf strain, only to come back and lose the remaining eight days. He will likely drop to Juryo soon, and his face said it all on day 15.

Yutakayama, Kyokutaisei, Chiyotairyu, Endo, and Terunofuji all withdrew with various injuries as well, only Terunofuji making kachi-koshi, which in fact will secure his historical promotion back to sanyaku. Hopefully his knee is not beyond repair.

Vacating the sanyaku ranks will be Sekiwake Daieisho at a disappointing 5-10, Komusubi Okinoumi with only 4 wins, and of course Komusubi Endo, who pulled out early due to knee pain and effusion. Only 3 wins for him. Mitakeumi stays at Sekiwake though, with a last minute kachi-koshi from day 14.

Kiribayama took three days off after hurting his shoulder, and he still came back to secure 9 wins and a possible promotion to Komusubi! Takayasu looked great at M6 posting his second 10-5. He could actually jump all the way back up to Komusubi next tournament if Kiribayama doesn’t make the cut.

Our favorite lightweight Enho continued his descent, having a hard time gaining any momentum this month. He ended with 6 wins though, so his time in Makuuchi is not over yet. The Georgian bulldozer Tochinoshin had his moments during Aki Basho, but is so far still a shadow of his 2018 self.

Exciting returnee Ichinojo, new hiramaku Hoshoryu, as well as Kotoeko, and Kagayaki all squeezed out a win for their kachi-koshi on the final day. July’s Juryo champ Meisei is looking at home again in the top division too; 9-6 for him.

Kotoshoho continues to impress, putting up yet another kachikoshi at 10-5. So far he hasn’t posted a losing score in his five tournaments at salaried level. We’ll see if he can keep that going into the higher ranks.

M1 Takanosho is on a great run himself, beating four sanyaku wrestlers and ending with 10 wins total. We’ll definitely be seeing him in the named ranks for the first time in November.

Onosho was our first sole leader, the only undefeated rikishi on day 5. Even after taking a few losses, he stayed in contention well into the second half of the tournament. He didn’t end up challenging for the title, but he ends with 10 wins, a welcome achievement after his 2-13 record last basho.

Ozeki Asanoyama was able to pull it together for the most part after a rough start, but Shodai dashed the new Ozeki’s second yusho hopes on day 14.

Surprise yusho contenders Wakatakakage and Tobizaru fought tooth and nail to stay in the running until the last second. Wakatakakage lost his chance on day 14, after being thrown down by Mitakeumi. But Tobizaru stayed in the  game, earning the opportunity to challenge Sekiwake Shodai on day 15.

If Tobizaru won, it would be a guaranteed play-off involving himself and Shodai. And Takakeisho would have a chance to take part if he won the Ozeki showdown — the final scheduled match of Aki Basho.

But it was Shodai with a nail-biting thrust-down at the edge! He receives his first ever Emperors cup, ending the tournament with 13 wins, 2 losses! This almost certainly seals the deal for his promotion to Ozeki.

In the final bout of this amazing tournament, Takakeisho evened out the Ozeki’s rivalry with a harsh knock down against a disheartened Asanoyama. Takakeisho achieves runner up, and Asanoyama leaves with a respectable 10 wins.

The Outstanding Performance prize is awarded to Shodai, and the Fighting Spirit prize goes to both Shodai and Tobizaru. No Technique prizes were awarded this time.

Congratulations to Shodai! And we’ll see you again in November if all goes well! Stay safe everyone!

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