Tomorrow the torikumi for the first two days are to be announced. And this is when wrestlers who have been tottering on the edge of kyujo announce their decisions.
We already learned that Kakuryu will be kyujo. The head of the YDC reacted to this announcement by making it clear that Hatsu will be Kakuryu’s life-or-death basho. The press has already started to speculate on what the gentle yokozuna will be doing after his retirement.
Ura has also announced that he will be kyujo. This means that in Hatsu, we will no longer see him in the NHK highlights show, Kintamayama’s videos or Jason’s videos, as he will drop to Juryo. But this is probably just the start of a long drop – which we can only hope he will be doing with a properly operated-on ligament, with a view to bounce back into his pink mawashi.
Edit: turns out Ura went to get a doctor’s certificate from a Fukuoka hospital. The verdict, unsurprisingly, is that he has damage to the meniscus in one knee, and damage to the ACL in the other knee, and has to have surgery and rehabilitation, which will require, per that certificate, three months (sounds overly optimistic to me, and I suspect that Fukuoka hospital is not a world center of sports medicine). I hope that this means that he actually will undergo that surgery this time.
Terunofuji, on the other hand, decided that he will participate in the basho. I predict that the scenario from Aki will repeat itself, but I can understand why he is doing this: winning 10 bouts is probably a long shot, but much like Tochinoshin and Aoiyama in Aki, he probably wants to pad his fall down the banzuke with at least a few wins, rather than find himself at Maegashira 11 with a close view at Juryo in short order.
His decision follows a positive degeiko visit to Kokonoe stable, where he practiced with Chiyonokuni and Chiyotairyu. Here is a little sample:
— スポニチ記者ツイート スポーツ (@sponichisports) November 9, 2017
Kisenosato has made it clear that he will participate.
Harumafuji also makes a clear statement that he will participate, and wants to serve for the full 15 days. Yep. As I said in a Tweet, that man will show up even dead.
Hakuho will participate, of course, and makes all sorts of statements about going for his 40th yusho and breaking Futabayama’s winning percentage record (not the same as the consecutive wins record). But reporters around him note that he is still not 100% clear of injury.
Takayasu doesn’t make any bold statements, but apparently, he will participate, and says that he’ll do what he has to do and if that doesn’t clear his kadoban, he’ll have another go in the next basho.
Edit: as noted in the comments, Takanoiwa as well as Juryo Chiyootori will also be absent from day one, though they made no public announcements and the reason and length of their absence have not been published.