Hakuho Recovery Update

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The Yokozuna Back To Making Public Appearances

While the sumo world was focused on the excitement at the Kokugikan in Tokyo, Yokozuna Hakuho underwent surgery to repair damage to his right big toe and repair ligaments in his left knee. In a earlier article, we copied a recovery picture showing his foot and knee from the hospital. Several days later, a photo appeared on twitter showing Hokuho resuming training. It should be noted that he was (in the photo) working his upper body, and it should be expected that he will only lightly load his knees for several weeks, allowing the surgical repairs to heal.

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Now comes a new series of photos on Twitter, showing Hakuho is well enough to resume limited public appearances. For sumo fans everywhere this is great news, thought I would urge caution. At present everyone assumes he will return for the November basho in Fukuoka. While I am sure Hakuho wants very much to return to the doyho, is healing may require a longer departure from sumo. Given his long term goals, and the delicate nature of his knee repair, he would be wise to default to health over competition for as long as he can.

Zensho Goeido *updated*

As Bruce reported yesterday, Goeido won his first yusho. Bruce also has a great rundown today. Goeido managed it in spectacular fashion, going undefeated over the 15 days. This is obviously the biggest headline coming out of the Fall Tournament but there are many other key storylines:

  • Tokitenku intai – I’m very sad to see Tokitenku officially call it a career. The former Komusubi has not competed in the past year since his diagnosis with lymphoma.
  • Endo resurgence – Endo picked up a jun-yusho and the technique special prize with his 13 wins
  • Whispers of Ozeki Takayasu – Fighting Spirit special prize and 10 wins at sekiwake gives him a good first step. We need two more great tournaments!
  • WTF, Okinoumi? – One of the most spectacular runs ever, followed by a week of mediocrity
  • Terunofuji kadoban – I hope he heals quickly because another basho with a kadoban ozeki magically retaining his rank does harm to the sport.
  • Injuries – Will Hakuho and Osunaarashi be able to recover in time for November?

A Konishiki-sized “Thank You” to Bruce for his great reporting; I’m really looking forward to November! It’s always much more fun when I know there are others out there, like me, who enjoy professional King of the Hill.

If any of you all are in the DC area, maybe we can get a Happy Hour going?

Aki Basho Final Results

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Goeido Achieves A Perfect Score

Tournament winner Goeido won on the final day (as Andy cited), making his score a perfect 15-0, or zensho-yusho, which is a fairly uncommon event in sumo, even more uncommon when it comes from someone other than Hakuho. As mentioned in an earlier post, Goeido had been facing the possibility of demotion due to his losing record in the July tournament in Nagoya. He now has an option to attempt to reach Yokozuna.

Jun-yusho (runner up) goes to Endo, who had an amazing 13-2 record. In many cases, that would have been enough to win the tournament. We will likely see Endo at a much higher rank in November’s banzuke.

Special prizes awarded

  • Shukun-sho (Outstanding Performance): Okinoumi – His opening week saw him devastate the Ozeki and Yokozuna
  • Kanto-sho (Fighting Spirit): Takayasu – Brought us some fantastic battles, including his defeat of Harumafuji on day 11
  • Gino-sho (Technique): Endo – Really outstanding sumo from Endo this tournament

Final win / loss tally

15-0  Goeido
13-2  Endo
12-3  Harumafuji
10-5  Kakuryu, Kisenosato, Takayasu, Mitakeumi, Tamawashi, Kotoyuki
9-6  Kotoshogiku, Okinoumi, Aoiyama, Kagayaki
8-7  Chiyonokuni, Shohozan, Nishikigi, Takekaze, Sadanoumi, Chiyoshoma, Kyokushuho
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7-8  Tochiozan, Yoshikaze, Shodai, Ikioi, Arawashi
6-9  Kaisei, Toyohibiki, Tokushoryu
5-10  Tochinoshin, Takanoiwa, Myogiryu, Sokokurai, Gagamaru, Amakaze, Daieisho
4-11  Terunofuji, Takarafuji, Daishomaru
1-14  Chiyootori(1-10-4)

Thank you dear readers for following the action here on Tachiai.  Next tournament is in November at Fukuoka.  Until then, we will work to bring you news and developments from the sum world.

Goeido – Redemption

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From Kadoban to Yusho – Zensho Achieved (First in history)

Before the start of the Aki basho two weeks ago, I mockingly referred to Goeido and Kotoshogiku as the “Kadoban Twins”. Frankly both of their performance had been spotty and uneven, and I frankly predicted at least one of them would fail to achieve a winning record and would be demoted.

I was wrong

In one of the great redemption and come back stories in sports, Goeido came into Aki in danger of losing sumo’s second highest ranking, and drove himself relentlessly in every match. As noted before in Tachiai, his all out commitment to his offensive moves was dramatic, more like Hakuho, than what has been typical for Goeido of late.

On his march to total victory, he has shown surprising versatility in his winning moves, and an absolute fearless approach to sumo. The fans have loved it, as it was clear that Goeido was going to settle for nothing less than a win on every day.  I sincerely hope that Goeido can maintain this level of sumo, as it is really quite thrilling to watch. After so many years of the Japanese sumo fans yearning for strong performance from someone other than Mongolians, they may have finally found a worthy champion.

List Of Victories – Aki Basho

  • Day 1 – Tochinoshin
  • Day 2 – Shodai
  • Day 3 – Tochiozan
  • Day 4 – Takanoiwa
  • Day 5 – Takarafuji
  • Day 6 – Takayasu
  • Day 7 – Okinoumi
  • Day 8 – Yoshikaze
  • Day 9 – Aoiyama
  • Day 10 – Terunofuji
  • Day 11 – Kisenosato
  • Day 12 – Kakuryu
  • Day 13 – Harumafuji
  • Day 14 – Tamawashi
  • Day 15 – Kotoshogiku

Some facts about Goeido’s win, harvested from nikkansports.com:

  • Only the 8th time in history and kadoban Ozeki has won a tournament
  • First time ever a kadoban Ozeki has won undefeated – zensho yusho
  • First time in 86 years a rikishi from Osaka has won a tournament.
  • Only Harumafuji, Hakuho and now Goeido, out of the current sekitori, have won with a perfect record.

The video below of his win day 14 over Tamawashi, and the reaction of the crowd says it all. Congratulations to Goeido, your performance during Aki has been incredible.