Ankle Injury Still A Concern
During the 2017 Hatsu basho, Goeido suffered a major injury to his right ankle in his day 12 bout with Endo. From reports in the Japanese press, Goeido needed surgery to repair the damage, including pins, plates and screws. At the start of the training period for Osaka, he admitted to not being able to put much weight on that ankle, and that is still caused him a great deal of pain. He stated that this was not going to stop him from appearing in his home-town basho, and that he would give everything in every match.
Goeido has been a bit of an enigma. His typical performance at a basho is lack-luster, and not really worth noting. He has a tendency to go kadoban, and seems to not really have what it takes to be a dependable Ozeki, let along aspire (which he does) to Yokozuna. We refer to this as Goeido 1.0. Then there is the unstoppable sumo combat machine that won every match at Aki 2016, and left no doubt that he was Ichibon. That Goeido was bold, did not hedge his attack strategies and overwhelmed his opponents with technique and strength. He was amazing to watch and earned every bit of his zensho yusho win. This is Goeido 2.0, and we love and adore that guy. We want him back every basho.
Which one shows up in Osaka? We will find out in a few days. But, Tachiai predicts that if his ankle does not allow him to transmit power to ground, he will withdraw early. He managed 8 wins in January, so he is facing no risk of demotion by any withdrawal.