It’s here! The November Tournament kicked off today with several story lines and some very interesting matchups, not least is Ichinojo’s first bout in the sanyaku, against this man, Yokozuna Harumafuji (photo: SumoKyokai). Harumafuji seemed to catch Ichinojo off-guard, aggressively going right at the youngster and quickly pushing him off the edge of the dohyo. It’s good to see Harumafuji coming back so strongly off that eye injury.
Obviously, another storyline everyone’s following is Hakuho’s pursuit of his 32nd title. It’s amazing that this story seems to play second fiddle – but such is the hype around Ichinojo. Ikioi met Hakuho with a strong tachiai, and at one point seemed like he might have the yokozuna a bit off balance, but Hakuho was just too agile and too powerful. He quickly asserts control and bulled Ikioi out.
Endo’s first match of this tournament was against Tochinoshin, who’s been dominant in the lower divisions — even beating Ichinojo twice to get a perfect 15-win championship in Juryo. Endo’s heart was in it but Tochinoshin used his size advantage for all it was worth and garnered the win. These three battles neatly hit on all my key storylines for this tournament and I’m really looking forward to following their performances over the next fortnight.