One Chance To Retain San’yaku
Takayasu spent most of 2016 climbing the banzuke, and managed to find himself back at Komusubi in July after the upper rank blood-bath during the May basho in Tokyo. He had earned Komusubi before, and lost it immediately as most rikishi do. This time, he was determined to seize on the opportunity.
At Nagoya, Takayasu went 11-4, and earned the Gino-sho special prize. By all accounts he had a fantastic basho. He looked strong, he dominated his matches and made his opponents conform to his sumo. This excellent performance slotted him to Sekiwake for the Aki basho, and again Takayasu looked strong, with 10-5 and the Kanto-sho, including beating Harumafuji with a masterful move at tawara. But sumo fans noticed that the second half of the basho, he faded a bit, and lost to some opponents (Mitakeumi, Endo, Aoiyama) lower down the banzuke.
In spite his weak finish, the path to a promotion to Ozeki was open to him, provided he could supply 12 wins at Kyushu. With a mandate to perform, he completely failed in that mission, and turned in a losing record.
Coming into Hatsu, he has been demoted back to Komusubi, and a further loss would put him back in the Maegashira ranks. Takayasu as the size, the speed, the skill and the talent to replace either of the struggling Ozeki, but he needs a solid 3 tournament streak to make it happen. His first step is to battle back this January, and prove that he is a contender.