Kisenosato’s Protege Trains For Victory
Second only to Goeido’s push to challenge for Yokozuna is Takayasu’s drive to sumo’s second highest rank – Ozeki. For several tournaments, the Tsuchiura native has been a steadfast of the sanyaku, continuing to score winning records in sumo’s toughest ranks.
His performance during the Aki basho was nothing short of spectacular, including some of the more thrilling bouts of the tournament. Highlights include his day 11 match against Harumafuji, where he went blow for blow with the Yokozuna, and in his typical style, waited for Harumafuji to make a mistake and exploited it. Did we see a look of congratulatory respect at the end of that match?
But there was also a marathon match against Okinoumi on day 10, and then what I think was his best example of Aki, his day 9 match with Terunofuji. Here, Takayasu battles back from an almost impossible hold, re-establishes his grip, and forces Terunofuji out.
So, given that, you could think Takayasu is the end-all, be-all up and coming rikishi, but he finished Aki with 3 losses to rank-and-file Maegashira.
So if you are Takayasu, and you are very credibly on a push for Ozeki, what do you do? TRAIN. You train hard, you train daily. Takayasu is a member of the Tagonoura Beya, that means he trains with Kisenosato. In fact it seems that Kisenosato has made Takayasu’s promotion somewhat of a project. While Kisenosato spectacularly discarded a Yokozuna drive, he is a high skill force of sumo, and daily bouts have honed Takayasu’s sumo.
A week prior the Kyushu, Takayasu expressed some concern that he had gained additional weight during the fall Jungyo tour, and declared an “weight loss emergency”. We note with some interest the emerging trend among the sumotori to back away from ever increasing mass.
The Ozeki title is within reach for Takayasu, his goal is 12 wins in Kyushu, which will be quite an accomplishment with Hakuho back in the rotation, Goeido looking (perhaps) even sharper than he did in Tokyo, and Terunofuji fighting to keep his rank.
Reports from pre-tournament inter-beya practice sessions describe Takayasu as struggling, losing against the current Ozeki repeatedly.
Tachiai wishes him the best of fortune in his matches.