Over on the YouTube channel, tigerboy1966 brought up Hokutofuji (formerly Daiki). Hokutofuji’s astounding progress is being overshadowed by everything going on in sanyaku but it is certainly worthy of a storyline on its own.
After 12 tournaments in professional sumo, and 12 kachi-koshi records in a row, he enters March at Maegashira 5, three ranks higher than Hakkaku stablemate, Okinoumi.
The story should sound familiar. Last year, at precisely this time, Komusubi Shodai was ranked at Maegashira 6 after racking up 12 consecutive kachi-koshi tournaments. Yes, fellow Komusubi Mitakeumi’s rise seems faster but that’s because he debuted in Makushita. Shodai and Hokutofuji started off in Maezumo, each winning three yusho in the lower divisions, one each in Juryo.
Shodai climbed to M2 before his first losing record, in May 2016. He was beaten back to Earth, losing his first 6 matches to a rough mix of Yokozuna and Ozeki – the gauntlet. Is this the fate which awaits Hokutofuji? Another 9 wins at M5 will propel him into the high maegashira.
Personally, I don’t think he’ll get to 9 wins. True, he’s got some impressive wins under his belt against other rikishi in his neighborhood – Yoshikaze, Endo, Aoiyama. But right there are other challenges in Ichinojo, Arawashi and Chiyonokuni. So roughly half of this tournament will be like the last one but he will not have Chiyoo, Chiyotairyu, or Ishiura around to pad his win column. Takarafuji, Shohozan and others await the up-and-comer.