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Kyushu 2023 Predictions

Actual sumo starts in a few hours, and we are less than 24 hours from Makuuchi. But you can still sign up at Fantasizr for the Kyushu basho.

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Once again, I am placing a set of predictions out before the basho. This is a fun exercise, if not always making me look good. For the Aki basho, I missed Takakeisho's yusho run. Instead, I though Kirishima and Hoshoryu would represent the Ozeki on the yusho arasoi. I also thought Daieisho and Wakamotoharu would fall out of their Sanyaku perches. In my predictions, Mitakeuki was going to crash further down the Banzuke. None of that actually happened.


To my credit, Atamifuji did return to Makuuchi with a bit of glory. I also saw the disastrousness of lower Maegashira around him. I also seemed to have a good sense that Asanoyama and Kotonowaka would succeed in their ranks for Aki. I wasn't completely off, and that's what makes it interesting. There's something that can be seen about the general shape of the basho before it begins.


Yet we are always at odds trying to predict a basho. This one seems especially troubling. If someone from three weeks in the future came and told me Kirishima and Hoshoryu duked it out until a thrilling final day match, I'd believe them. Same if they said Kotonowaka, Hokuseiho, and Atamifuji made the youth movement even more obvious. I'd also believe that Kirishima and Hoshoryu fought to avoid Kadoban, or that Daieisho and/or Wakamotoharu were the main Sanyaku contenders against fellow veterans Abi and Takayasu.


Terunofuji is already out for the whole basho, and Asanoyama will at least miss Day One and maybe more. Terunofuji is dealing with all of his things, while Asanoyama is dealing with a minor leg problem that he could return from. I've kept them both out for the whole thing for simplicity's sake. I've also severely undersold Takakeisho because of unfavorable injury reports. Then again, the word is he's struggling with the neck problem he's worked through for two years.


But almost every wrestler presents a conundrum. Can Wakamotoharu continue his Sanyaku streak? Is Gonoyama finally going to struggle after a full Sanyaku slate? Will Tomokaze make a powerful return to Makuuchi after years away due to injury? Yes. Perhaps. Why not. Anything can happen.


Below is my best guess as it stands. Sumo begins tomorrow, and I may look immediately foolish. See you in the morning for the first recap.


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