Decisions, Decisions

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:

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.

18 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions

  1. I’m relieved that Ura is picking his health over his spot in Makuuchi. I hope he takes the road to recovery seriously, and we see him back on the dohyo at full health.

    • I am really happy too that Ura is prioritizing recovery. His participation in Aki was a huge mistake and possibly ended his career. Terunofuji is really hit or miss on any given day now, so it’s going to be a challenge for him to go for 10 and save his Ozeki.

      Takayasu is going to be in, I am quite certain of that. He’s only about 80%, but I am sure he’s going to give it a shot.

        • Well, depending on what the joi looks like in real time, Takayasu has a fair chance of clearing his kadoban. Especially with only two yokozuna to face. Terunofuji, though, is a different story, as he doesn’t just need a kachi koshi, he needs a “Yokozuna’s kachi-koshi” of 10 wins. I think of the two of them, Takayasu knows better how to deal with oshi-zumo, which is getting popular at the joi with all the tadpoles.

    • I’m just not sure that any of Ura’s bouts is going to be interesting unless he has his surgery and rehabilitation. And that means he’ll drop way below Juryo before he can do sumo again. We’ll probably only see him in One And Only’s videos.

  2. Just saw the section on Hakuho’s comments. It’s amazing that after everything he has accomplished, he still feels the pressure of Futabayama’s legacy weighing on him.

    • I think he, or possibly the people around him, are looking for ways to keep him motivated. He did have a dip in his motivation in the past and was thinking about retirement, and somewhere he got the idea of performing a dohyo-iri in 2020 to keep him going. But just staying healthy until 2020 is a long-term and rather boring goal when you have to work your ass off every f-ing day to stay at the top. So I think he’s picking forts to conquer along the way – and Futabayama is an excellent fort to attack.

    • Yes. I wonder what happened to Takanoiwa. He participated in the summer Jungyo (as did everybody from Takanohana beya), so something must have happened during the preparations at Fukuoka. I can’t find anything in the press, though.

      • My friend told me he was injured (she is a HUGE Takanoiwa fan), but she doesn’t speak English and my Japanese is limited so I couldn’t manage to get much out of her. I wonder if it isn’t too serious if he will try and come back to cushion his fall.


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