Early Indications Of Peak Performance For Hatsu
Many sumo fans had written of Kakuryu. He had been performing poorly ever since attaining Yokozuna status, and seemed to not have health, strength or aggressiveness to be one of the top men in the sport. His excuse was always citing poor health, and many began to wonder if he should just spare everyone embarrassment and retire.
But all the while, Kakuryu was working to improve – some would say tirelessly. After sitting out most of Nagoya as kyujo, he had a middling performance at Aki in Tokyo. In Kyushu he started strong and never looked back, winning the yusho with a dominant 14-1 record.
During the winter Jungyo, Kakuryu continued to dominate, and trained hard. Now reports come from Nikkan Sports that in a recent practice, Kakuryu went 25 wins out of 26 bouts. As mentioned earlier, in the YDC Soken, no one could touch him, and he threw Ozeki Goeido into the front row of the committee.
Yokozuna Kakuryu enters the first basho of the new year as the top ranked man in sumo. With Hakuho possibly still not quite up to expected strength, and Harumafuji nursing injured ankles, Kakuryu may be set to dominate another basho. A second consecutive yusho would be a welcome and impressive achievement. We look forward to Kakuryu’s bouts, starting Sunday.