Thursday, June 7, 2007

Behind the Curtain - September 2003

This September at the Tokyo's Kokugikan we will see the first time appearances of two wrestlers from behind the curtain, joining them will be three returnees to the paid ranks. Let's first take a look at those debuting at sekitori this basho.

Asofuji (Ms2e) managed a 4-3 record at Nagoya, which is impressive considering he suffered with an left ankle injury throughout the tournament. "I am still kind of embarrassed to be called 'Sekitori'," Asofuji said. It has been almost ten years since Asofuji made his sumo debut at the Hatsu basho '94.

Embarrassed or not, he finally gets to join his younger brother Aminishiki, as a sekitori. His little brother did move up the ranks quicker than Asofuji. "I told myself I was doing it in my own way. But it was pretty tough hearing from people, "Do your best! You, too, Big Brother," Asofuji admitted.

"The first goal is to train really really hard. I hope he would go out there, trying to top his brother," his shisho, Ajigawa oyakata (former Yokozuna Asahifuji) said. His immediate goal should be to move up to Makuuchi and "give 'chikarmizu" water to his brother". Let's hope that Asofuji can met his oyakata's goals.

Asofuji and Aminishiki make up the 16th brother sekitori combination in sumo history. The current brother combination is Kitazakura and Toyozakura, who were ranked at Nagoya Juryo 11 and Juryo 5 respectively.

Tochifudo (Ms4w) posted a solid 5-2 record at to earn his first time promotion to Juryo. Tochifudo is another long time lower ranked sumotori, like Asofuji, who debuted in sumo almost 10 years ago. Following his brother Fujiwara into sumo, they actually faced each for the '93 Aki basho Jonokuchi Yusho. They never did have a chance to form yet another sekitori brother combination. His brother injured his right knee and left sumo for good in '95.

Since then he committed himself to work even harder to succeed in sumo for both himself and especially for his brother. "I am sure my brother will be pleased to hear my promotion too. I will be focusing on my sumo style of keep moving forward," said Tochifudo.

"This is just a start. I want him to sharpen up his technique more so he can display more powerful brand of sumo," said Kasugano oyakata (former Sekiwake Tochinowaka) who just took over the heya this February.

Kaito (Ms1e) finished 5-2 to return in front of the curtain this September. This sekitori from Tomozuna Beya should be able to work his way further up the banzuke than his best to date of Juryo 10.

Sentoryu (Ms3e), also from Tomozum Beya, matched his stable mates 5-2 record last basho. Here is a long time sumo veteran, perhaps the only wrestler coming back to Juryo with his very own web site, Along with Kaio, who has a long shot make Yokozuna this tourney, Tomozuma oyakata (ex-Sekiwaka Kaiki) most feel a great deal of pride for his three sekitori.

Juzan (Ms1w) is our last returnee this basho, having finished the Nagoya basho with a 4-3 record. He is a member of Oshiogawa beya, joining his stable mate Wakatoba in the paid ranks.

But for these five to go up the banzuke, five sekitori have to either step behind the curtain or leave sumo. The five wrestlers who will no longer sekitori in September are Takanotsuru (J10 5-10), Tamanokuni (J9 3-12), Nakao (J12 6-9), Kotoiwakuni (J13 5-10) and Wakakosho (J9 6-9).

Kawika ©

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