Terunofuji was not the only wrestler to be declared injured to start Hatsu Basho. Regular Tachiai readers will recognize several names among those listed. After Terunofuji, the most well known would possibly be Homarefuji. He had made a few brief appearances in Makuuchi, peaking as high as maegashira 6. However, he’s been battling injuries and struggling in Juryo for much of the last two years. He has not picked up a kachi-koshi since the Juryo-Yusho playoff loss he suffered in Aki 2017, with demotion to Makushita in Aki 2018. After a dreadful 1-6 Kyushu, he has fallen to Makushita 36.
Murata featured in Josh’s first crop of “Ones to Watch” but has not returned since he peaked in the top ranks of Makushita. He’s now slipped to Sandanme 73 and will likely be ranked near Terunofuji if both return in Spring. Amakaze has taken a similar path of late with a couple of kyuju basho. However, he had enjoyed sekitori status for a while before this recent spate of kyujo tournaments. Currently Sandanme 90, he’ll fall into Jonidan if full kyujo this basho.
We met Asahiryu in a brief appearance in Herouth’s Osaka 2018 Day 6 coverage of lower division bouts. He had been overwhelmed by Toyonoshima on that day. He’s been treading water since, hovering in the Ms20s & 30s. That Makushita Wall Bruce mentioned is no joke, claiming fellow Ms helicopter Kansei, as well. Asahiryu beat Kansei in their Kyushu bout this past November but neither will show up for the first bouts of 2019.
The full list of Hatsu Basho Kyujo Rikishi is available at the Sumo Kyokai website.