Back On An Ozeki Path
For the second half of 2016, Takayasu was on a march towards a bid to be promoted to Ozeki. At Kyushu, the goal was before him, needing a strong 12 wins to close the deal, and secure his promotion. Sadly, faced with victory, he utterly failed, and finished with a losing record, and demoted back down to Komusubi. Going into Hatsu, we asked if Takayasu could re-focus on his sumo, and return to his winning ways.
For fans of Takayasu, Hatsu was a triumph. With most of the Ozeki and Yokozuna out or hurt, he was able to rack up 11 wins, and a special prize. In the process he defeated 3 Ozeki and 2 Yokozuna. This set him squarely on the path back to Sekiwake, and re-ignited his bid to claim a promotion to Ozeki.
But there is a cloud on Takayasu’s shining path to Ozeki. At the Hatsu basho, we witnessed the ascendency of Mitakeumi, who also turned in an 11-4 record. Mitakeumi was strong, relentless and executed his sumo well. In Takayasu’s past efforts during 2016, he was the sole sekitori who stood any chance of promotion. It appears in 2017 there will be at least two, and possibly three that push towards sumo’s second highest rank.
The criteria for Takayasu’s promotion is 33 wins over 3 tournaments. That continues in Osaka, provided the March banzuke places him, as we expect, at Sekiwake.