As expected, Hakuho’s big toe injury is still causing him problems, and in an abundance of caution, he has decided to not compete in Osaka’s Haru basho. This is the first time in his career that he has been kyujo for two consecutive tournaments. He underwent surgery to repair this same toe in 2016, which caused him to miss the Aki basho.
While some fans may wonder why problems with a single toe might be cause to withdraw, in sumo all power is transmitted to the dohyo via the feet. The role of the toes, and most especially the “big toe” (or as the Japanese call it, the foot thumb) is crucial in maintaining balance while in motion.
This leaves Yokozuna Kakuryu as the only Yokozuna who will start the Haru basho.
We hope Hakuho is able to recover and re-join competition in May.