Hakuho Out For September Tournament

hakuho-kyujo

Earlier today, in Tokyo (via Japan Times), Hakuho announced he would be out (Kyujo) of the September tournament in Tokyo. I am sure that the fans are disappointed, he is disappointed and everyone wants to see this guy defeat all comers like he normally would. But as mentioned earlier, his knee injury, if he does not let it heal, could end his career at this point.

“I’m sorry to the fans,” Hakuho said. “I want work on healing in time for the autumn regional tour and the Kyushu Basho (in November).”

The 31-year-old Mongolian yokozuna had been struggling to prepare for the upcoming 15-day event at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo due to injuries to his left knee and right big toe.

He has stated his desire to remain in the ring until 2020, and doing so require strategic thinking, including making sure that an injury like this is healed. I would hope that he is working with sports medicine specialists, or he gets on a plane and comes to the US to consult one.  The last thing anyone wants now is for his injury from Nagoya to force him into retirement.

This opens the path to Kisenosato, who is the great hope for Japan to once again have a wrestler at the highest rank in Sumo. To do that, he would need to win a tournament. Thus far Hakuho and Harumafuji have been too dominant for that to happen. With the greatest Yokozuna in recorded history benched with a bad knee, Kisenosato may never have a better opportunity.

More from the Japan Times article –

Fans expected Hakuho to be the prime obstacle in ozeki Kisenosato’s bid to become first Japanese-born yokozuna since 1998 — with an Autumn Basho title likely required for his promotion. But Hakuho is wishing his long-time rival good luck.

“Things like these can’t be helped,” he said. “I’d like him to grab the chance. I’m not fighting him this time and would like to join in supporting him (for promotion).”

Hakuho Out For September Tournament?

Hakuho

Rumors are bubbling that the most dominant wrestler in recorded Sumo history may sit out the September Tokyo tournament. It was fairly clear from Nagoya that he had hurt more than his big toe (which we covered here), but that one of his knees was injured as well. For reference this bout against Ikioi on day 9, where I think the knee injury occurred.

Hakuho is pressing the attack against Ikioi, when he suddenly collapses, much to everyone’s surprise (most especially Ikioi)

Followed by what happened when he faced tournament winner Harumafuji

Clearly, Hakuho is quite banged up (so is Harumafuji at this point), but it’s his knee which gives out first.

If Hakuho does sit out September, it changes the math for Kisenosato to finally win a tournament and earn his Yokozuna rope.

Countdown To Banzuke (番付) – September Basho

It’s now less than two weeks until the Banzuke for the Aki Basho in Tokyo is released. For sumo fans, we are eagerly awaiting to see the new ranking, and to begin anticipating 15 days of sumo starting September 11th. Before we get into handicapping who we think ends up where in the ranking sheet, let’s take a moment to look at the outcome of the Nagoya Basho. In short – a bloodbath. There were 14 Rikishi with winning records, 21 Rikishi with losing records (likely demoted), 2 Ozeki went Kadoban (角番), and there were 5 Rikishi out with injuries, including Yokozuna Kakuryu.

Gory details after the jump Continue reading