November 2020 Basho Preview
白鵬 翔 | Hakuho Sho
Last 3 Basho: 0-0-15, 10-3-2, 1-3-11
Previous Rank: Yokozuna East
He is still the best there ever was, but is he still the best there is? He missed last time out after surgeries to fix the leg injuries that made him withdraw in July, and he will be missing November as well. His future is more in doubt than ever, although he also could come storming back in January.
鶴竜 力三郎 | Kakuryu Rikisaburo
Last 3 Basho: 0-0-15, 0-2-13, 12-3 J
Kakuryu is beat up, and the rumors say he would be retired and an oyakata already if he had Japanese citizenship. He has officially said he will not participate in the November basho due to a back injury. This could be the last banzuke where his name appears.
貴景勝 光信 | Takakeisho Mitsunobu
Last 3 Basho: 12-3 J, 8-4-3, 7-8
Previous Rank: Ozeki West
Takakeisho's career since his November 2018 yusho and May 2019 Ozeki promotuon have been relatively disappointing among injuries and other issues. Yet he is 24, has been an Ozeki for eighteen months, and notched 12 wins with a jun-yusho last basho. He is already a star and is likely to only get better.
朝乃山 英樹 | Asanoyama Hideki
Ozeki 1 West
Last 3 Basho: 10-5 12-3 J, 11-4
Previous Rank: Ozeki East
Asanoyama has become mister double-digits, as he now has reached at least 10 wins in his last 6 basho and 7 of his last 8. That takes him back to his yusho in May 2019, which also saw a new, better version of the Mountain of the Morning. He is very good, and essentially lethal if he can get his left hand on his opponent's belt. The question is can he hit the next, ultimate, level.
正代 直也 | Shodai Naoya
Ozeki 2 East
Last 3 Basho: 13-2 Y,11-4, 8-7
Previous Rank: Sekiwake 1 East
With 13 wins in September, Shodai secured a yusho and a promotion to Ozeki. The knock on Shodai was always that his poor tachiai would doom him, but he's fixed that by either catching or standing up his opponent. He's 29 before the basho starts, so this is likely his peak sumo, but what a peak it looks like so far.
御嶽海 久司 | Mitakeumi Hisashi
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 11-4, 10-5
Previous Rank: Sekiwake 1 West
The top non-Ozeki is not an unusual position for the 27 year old, but the question remains if Mitakeumi has an extra gear to take him higher on the Banzuke. He is efficient and quick when he is on his game, so the thing to watch out for is if he gets that first step on an opponent. He has also had a nasty habit of fading in the second week, which is something else to watch out for.
隆の勝 伸明 | Takanosho Nobuaki
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 8-7, 12-3 J
Previous Rank: Maegashira 1 West
Takanosho has easily been the most improved rikishi during the coronavirus-related changes. In March, he secured 12 wins and a big promotion. Although it didn't come until July, he held his own against the top rikishi and then won 10 at Maegashira 1 for Aki. He is 25 and could just be rounding into form.
照ノ富士 春雄 | Terunofuji Haruo
Last 3 Basho: 8-5-2, 13-2 Y, 10-5 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 1 East
Through 11 days, Terunofuji was in the yusho hunt and looked like he was on an inevitable return to Ozeki. Then his knees bothered him again and he pulled out. It's the grand arc of his career in miniature, so just see how he's moving early on to know if he'll be a force in November.
高安 晃 | Takayasu Akira
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 10-5, 0-5-10
Previous Rank: Maegashira 6 East
Although his ups and downs have been less dramatic, Takayasu is, like fellow Komusubi Terunofuji, a former Ozeki making his way back up after injury. Back-to-back 10 win basho has allowed him to return to Sanyaku three basho after falling out. What's most important is that his strength and exceptional stamina were back where they should be.
霧馬山 鐵雄 | Kiribayama Tetsuo
Maegashira 1 East
Previous 3 Basho: 9-4-2, 6-9, 9-6
Previous Rank: Maegashira 5 East
Despite a mid-basho injury, Kiribayama got 9 wins at Aki and career high rank for the November tournament. He's extremely tricky, pulling out spins early and frequently trying to finish with odd throws. He now has a chance to prove he can hang tight with the best rikishi in the business.
若隆景 渥| Wakatakakage Atsushi
Maegashira 1 West
Last 3 Basho: 11-4, 10-5, 10-5 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 8 West
Wakatakakage has zoomed up the rankings in 2020 after an injury disrupted his Makuuchi debut in November 2019. He is relatively small for a sekitori, but surprisingly strong and always dialed in. Maegashira 1 is a tough spot, but he is unlikely to be overwhelmed.
阿武咲 奎也 | Onosho Fumiya
Maegashira 2 East
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 2-13, 9-6
Previous Rank: Maegashira 9 West
Anyone offering a prediction of how Onosho will do is just asking for trouble. He seems almost physically incapable of a middling performance. He is still relatively young and immensely talented, so continued success and a return to Sanyaku always seems possible.
大栄翔 勇人 | Daieisho Hayato
Maegashira 2 West
Last 3 Basho: 5-10, 11-4, 8-7
Previous Rank: Sekiwake 2 East
Daieisho reached his career highest rank of Sekiwake for the Aki basho and had a terrible time of it. Although he'll face many of the same wrestlers, he's done well enough as an upper Maegashira. Don't plan on Daieisho falling on his face again.
輝 大士 | Kagayaki Taishi
Maegashira 3 East
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 5-10, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 6 West
Kagayaki has firmly established himself as a mid-Maegashira, but has yet to show he could become much more than that. Blessed with prototypical size and solid fundamentals, he hasn't found the extra gear that could shoot him up to Sanyaku so far.
隠岐の海 歩 | Okinoumi Ayumi
Maegashira 3 West
Last 3 Basho: 4-11, 9-6, 8-7
Previous Rank: Komusubi East
Okinoumi did not have a good Aki while ranked at Komusubi. He is still the wise old veteran rikishi par excellence. He still has the right combo of size and strength, never beats himself, and punishes any mistake an opponent makes.
北勝富士 大輝 | Hokutofuji Daiki
Maegashira 4 East
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 9-6, 4-11
Previous Rank: Maegashira 2 East
Hokutofuji has gotten in the habit of alternating strong tournaments with lackluster ones. He is a talented pusher-thruster, but also a very predictable rikishi as a pusher-thruster. That means a few breaks can make a huge difference.
翔猿 正也| Tobizaru Masaya
Maegashira 4 West
Last 3 Basho: 11-4, 9-6 (Juryo), 10-5 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 14 East
Tobizaru was the surprise of the Aki basho, racking up 11 wins and fighting for the yusho until the final day. The Flying Monkey is extremely fun to watch on the dohyo, but Maegashira 4 is a heck of a jump. Still, first time matches with the best rikishi is something to look forward to.
妙義龍 泰成 | Myogiryu Yasunari
Maegashira 5 East
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 10-5, 4-11
Previous Rank: Maegashira 3 East
Myogiryu just turned 34, and to his credit doesn't look it in a sport that isn't kind to aging veterans. He still holds an athleticism advantage over many opponents, and he can dominate a match when he gets the first step. Unfortunately for him, he also gets turned around easily, too.
琴勝峰 吉成| Kotoshoho Yoshinari
Maegashira 5 West
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 8-7, 12-3 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 12 East
Kotoshoho is the youngest sekitori at just 21, and he is all the way up at Maegashira 5 in just his 18th career basho. In other words, his future is extremely bright, especially considering his blend of size, strength, and skill. As to his present, Maegashira 5 will be tough on the first try. (But underestimate him at your own peril.)
宝富士 大輔 | Takarafuji Daisuke
Maegashira 6 East
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 5-10, 9-6
Previous Rank: Maegashira 3 East
Takarafuji's veteran unremarkability showed up again at Aki, although that was still a 7-8. Takarafuji will never be overwhelmed, while also never overwhelming anyone. He is likely to hover around the kachi-koshi/make-koshi line all tournament.
玉鷲 一朗 | Tamawashi Ichiro
Maegashira 6 West
Last 3 Basho: 5-10, 10-5, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 2 West
Tamawashi's had a bit of a rollercoaster ride of late. While he has gone 15-15 over the last two basho, that was compiled with a 10-5 followed by a 5-10. He probably will hit one extreme again, since he is an older sekitori who relies on a signature shove to the throat. It either works or it doesn't.
栃ノ心 剛史 | Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi
Maegashira 7 East
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 10-5, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 4 West
The form that made him an Ozeki just a little over a year ago can still pop through occasionally. Yet it's only occasional, and he more frequently shows the injuries that made him fall out of the Sanyaku ranks. He did get 10 wins two basho ago, and he always has that chance again.
遠藤 聖大 | Endo Shota
Maegashira 7 West
Last 3 Basho: 3-9-3, 8-7, 7-8,
Previous Rank: Komusubi West
Endo left the Aki basho with an injury, which was obviously plaguing him before his withdrawal. This now places him at the lowest rank he has been at since January 2019. He did get 10 wins at that basho, so if he's healthy he should be able to make some noise.
碧山 亘右 | Aoiyama Kosuke
Maegashira 8 East
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 5-10, 11-4
Previous Rank: Maegashira 7 West
Still big, still strong, and still knows exactly what he is doing out there. That can go a long way, but Aoiyama is also limited by his limited athleticism. He can win frequently enough to be competitive in the right tournament, so he could do okay.
照強 翔輝 | Terutsuyoshi Shoki
Maegashira 8 West
Last 3 Basho: 5-10, 8-7, 9-6
Previous Rank: Maegashira 3 West
Terutsuyoshi did not handle Maegashira 3 very well at Aki, and perhaps got knocked back down to a better level for him. The problem with Terutsuyoshi is the same, though, as he charges ahead so forcefully that he can redirected relatively easily. Of course, when he connects, he is a compact force of nature.
徳勝龍 誠 | Tokushoryu Makoto
Maegashira 9 East
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 7-8, 4-11
Previous Rank: Maegashira 8 East
Tokushoryu won the yusho in January with a shocking 14-1 that was exponentially better than anything he had done before. He hasn't come close to repeating the feat, but he has sort of comfortably become a mid-Maegashira. Maybe he can even scratch out his first winning record since lifting the Emperor's Cup.
琴恵光 充憲| Kotoeko Mitsunori
Maegashira 9 West
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 10-5, 11-4 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 10 West
Kotoeko is relatively short with short arms, without the incredible athleticism of other diminutive rikishi. Yet he's reestablished himself as a solid Maegashira by having a strong game plan and executing it well. He won't wow anyone, ever, and he's unlikely to dominate, but he'll good enough.
竜電 剛至 | Ryuden Goshi
Maegashira 10 East
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 7-8, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 7 East
Ryuden's difficult, twister style of sumo, which usually involves him getting his long arms around an opponent in a confusing way, hasn't led to a kachi-koshi of late. Yet he hasn't had a disastrous basho, either. He'll likely stay near .500 for the whole basho and is always an unpleasant opponent.
明生 力| Meisei Chikara
Maegashira 10 West
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 10-5 (Juryo), 7-8
Previous Rank: Maegashira 13 East
Meisei got an injury at the start of the year that saw his form dip and send him back to Juryo. Since he recovered, he's been fighting very well and looks like he could return to upper Maegashira. He is also just 25 and fairly athletic, so bigger goals aren't ridiculous.
佐田の海 貴士 | Sadanoumi Takashi
Maegashira 11 East
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 8-7, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 10 East
The favorite every basho to be right around 8-7 or 7-8, Sadanoumi is just a solid Maegashira. Double-digit wins don't happen, but neither do double-digit losses. That's because he never lets the fight get away from him and keeps moving forward.
炎鵬 晃 | Enho Akira
Maegashira 11 West
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 5-10, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 9 East
The little rikishi that could is still a fan favorite, but he has not had a good basho in a while. He seems to be unable to trick opponents like he used to, which means he is also becoming predictable with his up and under maneuver. If he can mix it up, he has enough bizarre sumo skills to make some damage again.
豊山 亮太 | Yutakayama Ryota
Maegashira 12 East
Last 3 Basho: 2-6-7, 5-10, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 4 East
Yutakayama looked like he might broach Sanyaku earlier this year, but that now seems a distant memory. His rough basho in September was capped with an injury, which means he is another in the "if healthy" club. At least he is still a big and athletic rikishi who has the talent to do well.
魁聖 一郎 | Kaisei Ichiro
Maegashira 12 West
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 6-9, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 12 West
The massive Brazilian has settled into a solid lower Maegashira. This is because Kaisei is actually an extremely up and down wrestler at this point of his career. He is still huge and a crafty veteran, but he has no athleticism or quickness if he can't grab a hold of an opponent immediately.
豊昇龍 智勝 | Hoshoryu Tomokatsu
Maegashira 13 East
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 10-5 (Juryo), 8-7 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 16 West
Hoshoryu got a kachi-koshi in his Makuuchi debut at just 21 years of age, which is impressive. Yet his hype and undoubtedly great long term outlook might have to be thrown against some struggle now. While a talented thrower, especially at the edge, Hoshoryu also had a rough time with much larger rikishi who took him head on.
逸ノ城 駿 | Ichinojo Takashi
Maegashira 13 West
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 9-6 (Juryo), 9-6 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 17 East
Ichinojo was back in Makuuchi after an injury-driven detour to Juryo, but he didn't quite look the same for Aki. He still looks unnaturally large even among sumo wrestlers, but he didn't have the overwhelming power of his best moments. He is still recovering from an injury, technically, but the real key has always been his attitude and energy.
千代の国 憲輝 | Chiyonokuni Toshiki
Maegashira 14 East
Last 3 Basho: 14-1 Y (Juryo), 7-0 Y (Makushita), 3-4 (Makushita)
Previous Rank: Juryo 11 West
Chiyonokuni was last in Makuuchi in January 2019, when he suffered an awful leg injury. After surgery and three basho out, he returned to sumo in the third Makushita division. Over the past few basho, he's stormed through Makushita and Juryo like someone who really belongs in the top division.
琴ノ若 傑太 | Kotonowaka Masahiro
Maegashira 14 West
Last 3 Basho: 9-6 (Juryo), 4-6-5, 9-6
Previous Rank: Juryo 2 West
In July, Kotonowaka appeared to be establishing himself as a strong Makuuchi wrestler in just his second top division basho. Then he got an injury and had to drop down to Juryo, which he instantly got promoted from in September. There's no reason to think the almost 23 year old (his birthday is during this basho) isn't still destined for great things.
千代大龍 秀政 | Chiyotairyu Hidemasa
Maegashira 15 East
Last 3 Basho: 5-8-2, 6-9, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 11 East
The limits of Chiyotairyu's straight-ahead sumo were masked by his awesome strength and power. Age and injuries have begun to sap some of that power, with attendant slips in performance. Worse for him, he had an ankle problem during Aki that saw him miss the last two bouts of the basho.
琴勇輝 一巖 | Kotoyuki Kazuyoshi
Maegashira 15 West
Last 3 Basho: 8-7 (Juryo), 6-8-1, 8-7 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Juryo 2 East
Kotoyuki had knee surgery just a few weeks ago, and he will not be competing during the November basho. Perhaps predictably, this will make him drop down to Juryo once again.
千代翔馬 富士雄 | Chiyoshoma Fujio
Maegashira 16 East
Last 3 Basho: 9-6 (Juryo), 6-9 (Juryo), 8-7 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Juryo 4 East
Formerly a constant presence in Makuuchi, Chiyoshoma has spent 8 basho in the second Juryo division. Already a fighter more reliant on odd tricks and deception, Chiyoshoma has gone further down the path of "crafty veteran." He is the odds on favorite to have the most henka during this basho.
天空海 翔馬| Akua Shoma
Maegashira 16 West
Last 3 Basho: 10-5 (Juryo), 10-5 (Juryo), 4-11 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Juryo 6 West
After a decade in sumo, Akua finally makes it to Makuuchi. The 30 year old will be the lone top division debutant for November, and he does it off the back of what is easily the best stretch of his career. The chances he makes real noise are slim, but he could always surprise. (It's still 2020.)
志摩ノ海 航洋 | Shimanoumi Koyo
Maegashira 17 East
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 5-10, 9-6
Previous Rank: Maegashira 15 East
Shimanoumi was Aki's rikishi who had a demotion worthy performance but lucked out by seeing a few other rikishi do worse. Last time he faced a similar situation, three bashos ago, he pulled off 9 wins. His sumo has not looked like he is capable of that, but avoiding demotion can be a powerful motivator.