November 2020 Basho Banzuke
The Banzuke is here! The final tournament of 2020 is two weeks away. Judging by what the year has brought so far just in sumo, it should be a wild affair. Or maybe this one will be surprising by going chalk.
Banzuke presented in Fantasy Basho form first, then some commentary.
Shodai will make his debut at Ozeki in November, while Takanosho joins the Sanyaku for the first time as a Sekiwake. Although Shodai will be the third Ozeki, Daieisho fell out of his third Sekiwake spot, so the Sanyaku stays at 7 wrestlers.
7 Sanyaku wrestlers means the joi-jin line will fall between Maegashira 4 East Hokutofuji and Maegashira 4 West Tobizaru. Hokutofuji gets all the top ranked wrestlers and Tobizaru does not. Except of course the Yokozuna are a little fragile, random injuries happen, and stablemates cannot fight each other. So Tobizaru will likely face some top rikishi, as will the two Maegashira 5, Myogiryu and Kotoshoho. There are quite a few wrestlers in that grouping who are young, eager, and would be more than happy to prove themselves. Upper Maegashira is far more intriguing than usual.
The demoted wrestlers from September were Kotoshogiku, Abi, Shozan, Ishiura, and Kyokutaisei. That quintet will be replaced by Chiyonokuni, Kotonowaka, Kotoyuki, Chiyoshoma, and Akua. Akua is the only Makuuchi debutant among that group. Chiyonokuni is coming back from a terrible injury in January 2019, and Kotonowaka is back up after going down for one basho because of a small injury. Kotoyuki and Chiyoshoma have been on the Juryo-Makuuchi line for awhile. Akua is a 30 year old with no top division experience, but he did put together two straight 10 win basho at Juryo most recently.
Sadogatake beya (The Kotos) has four rikishi scattered across the Banzuke. Tatsunami beya has three (Meisei, Hoshoryu, and Akua). Kokonoe also has three (Chiyos), but they're all bunched in the same place in the rankings. These are the sorts of things that will make scheduling an absolute nightmare.
Shodai, Takanosho, Kiribayama, Wakatakakage, Tobizaru, Kotoshoho, Hoshoryu, and Akua are all at career highest ranks. That's always something that is worth watching, especially with the really young ones.
Tournament begins on November 8th. Get ready.