Reports from the summer sumo PR tour in central Japan are that Yokozuna Hakuho has withdrawn. Complaining for persistant and increasing pain in his left knee, Hakuho has returned to Tokyo to rest prior to the Aki basho in just one month.
Fans have greatly enjoyed seeing “The Boss” back in fighting form for the past two tournaments, but as we have cautioned, he is one injury away from having to struggle to make it through a basho. Like any combat sport, the mechanical injuries sustained by the athletes never really go away, you can only get them so that you can continue to compete. In the case of this injury, the Yokozuna declared that this had been troubling him since before Nagoya.
This leaves only an injured Harumafuji and an injured Kisenosato remaining with the tour. Fans might infer from this that the roster for Aki could in fact be rather light at the top ranks if none of sumo’s grand champions are fit to fight.
10 thoughts on “Yokozuna Hakuho Withdraws From Summer Jungyo”
Yeah, I read about this just now. The jungyo management says that there’s a chance that Hakuho will rejoin the tour for its final leg in Tokyo. So it doesn’t sound like a career-changing injury.
My prediction: Hakuho and Harumafuji will attend Aki. Hakuho will take the Yusho (unless one of the Ozeki shows tremendous improvement). Harumafuji will still pull a double digit winning record. Kisenosato will either be kyujo or make-koshi. Kakuryu – I have no idea. There seem to be little about him on the ‘net.
Takayasu could stage a surprise if there is any weakness in the Hakuho department. He’s throwing people around in the jungyo like there’s no tomorrow. The question is whether he can pull that off for 15 days in a row in money time.
I doubt it’s career ending, too. But it’s a bit of a concern that the NSK seems to be struggling to muster healthy Ozeki and Yokozuna. With both Terunofuji and Goeido kadoban going into Aki, this is going to be a really odd basho, I think. I don’t count Goeido out at all, as he won Aki last year as a kadoban Ozeki. I would also say that if the Yokozuna (especially Hakuho) are out or not competing well, that Terunofuji has a decent shot at leading the competition – provided his knee is workable.
I’m not counting on Terunofuji’s health (I wish I could, he’s such a brilliant boy) – I won’t be surprised if he is kyujo in Aki, and if he isn’t, I can see him go the way of the pumpkin. :-(
Goeido seems to be healthy, and apparently getting PE lessons from a bored Harumafuji. I think that being kadoban, as opposed to injured, actually means he’ll be going all out and scorching the dohyo.
It’s a sort of feedback game: if you have few Yokozuna, it means there is more of a chance for Ozeki to grab yusho and become Yokozuna. And then, if you have many Yokozuna, the Ozeki take a back seat – but the crowded sanyaku becomes a health hazard and you might end up with fewer Yokozuna, and so on.
If I remember correctly there is a weird mini tournament in a shopping mall right before Aki. That’s where we see who is genki and who sits.
So we have two yokozuna mildly injured and the other two yokozuna very injured indeed. And the ozeki don’t look much healthier. We may have to look down the banzuke to find the winner.
I don’t know if any of you watch steeplechasing (a kind of horse race) but on the big day it often happens that the best horses either fall or pull up injured and some fit, healthy middle-ranker jumps clear and gallops through the carnage to take the prize.
What I’m saying is that we could be in for an absolutely mad basho and an upset winner.
So, what are the odds on a yusho for Mitakeumi?
I was going to suggest dark horse money on Takakeisho or Onosho. Or Aoiyama!
Aoiyama? :-) That man will be happy if this time when he meets Hakuho he manages to avoid having his face wiped with a brown-silk-wrapped crotch.
This time he will be in the joi. He has as much chance of surviving as a test crush dummy.
Mitakeumi would have to get by Takayasu, and (possibly) Yoshikaze.
So now as of the 14th, Kintamayama has a report that Takayasu is complaining that there are so few capable rikishi on the jungyo that his training is insufficient.