From Silver To Black.
It has been two years since sumo had a new Ozeki. The barrier to entry is huge, requiring consistent high performance over a series of tournaments to even be considered. As Kisenosato’s tireless practice partner, Takayasu has maintained super-human focus on training endlessly for years.
Once before he was on the cusp of earning enough wins to be considered for promotion, just to let his achievement slip from his fingers in Kyushu when he had a disappointing 7-8 maki-koshi. But this only seemed to renew his resolve and his drive to succeed. Even with is training partner Kisenosato seriously injured with a pectoral rupture, he found ways to stay strong and practice his sumo. This all paid off in Tokyo this past May as he racked up 11 wins, and clinched his promotion.
Now at the steamy tropical Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya, we will see Ozeki Takayasu take the dohyo. Takayasu fights under his real name, which is unusual in sumo, and even more rare for the upper, named ranks. While normally he wears a silver mawashi, he has changed to traditional black, which is expected of Ozeki and Yokozuna. We can assume Takayasu takes his role very seriously (the one knock against the guy is maybe he is too serious), and will perform his duties as Ozeki with great pride.
As an Ozeki, his torikumi will take some interesting twists. When he was Sekiwake, he provided fodder and tune-up fuel for the Yokozuna and Ozeki during the first week. As an Ozeki, he will face all of the other Ozeki and all of the Yokozuna during the final week of the basho. His rotation in who he fights and when will be more or less inverted – his opponents he used to face in week 1, he will now face in week 2.
Tachiai has been tight followers of Takayasu for some time, and we will be watching with great interest has he starts his first tournament as an Ozeki.