Update – Yokozuna Hakuho

After leading the yusho race for most of the Hatsu basho, Yokozuna hakuho withdrew on day 14 after suffering 3 straight losses. His kyujo application cited complications with his right knee, and many sumo fans and pundits chalked it up to him wanting to save his pride after losing 3 straight. As it turns out, reality was far more gruesome.

Hakuho skipped the Kyushu tournament to have surgery on this knee – the latests in a series of medical procedures that he has undergone to try and keep himself in fighting form for a few more tournaments. He looked fairly well during the pre-basho work up, and was enthusiastic to complete and probably win the finally Tokyo basho of the Heisei era. But on the 4th day of the tournament, he faced Hokutofuji, and won the match by some minor gymnastics on the tawara to stay in the ring while Hokutofuji dove for the gyoji. It turns out this re-injured his knee. The problem seemed minor at first, but grew worse day over day. As reported on Twitter (thanks to Herouth)

The decision to go kyujo came after he found he could no longer sleep at night, due to the pain and inflammation in his knee, and it was clear that he was going to require medical intervention, and possibly additional surgery.

This was bad enough, but following the basho, the YDC decided once again to put their foot in their collective mouths. In a post-meeting statement, (thanks to Kintamayama) outgoing chairman and Colonel Sanders Cosplayer Kitamura had this to say: They were doing proper sumo before they went kyujo and there was no sign of any serious injury. Some members noted that it was a bit strange. The Kyokai’s appointed doctor was the one who should be signing the certificates and not their individual doctors and some others said they would like to see a more objective certificate stating exactly how many days of rest they need..”

The overwhelming question remains – just how bad is it? Well, Hakuho had at least a hematoma in that right knee, and that is a good indication that something tore apart that was not completely healed. Most fans would be fine with him taking an extended break to get healthy, but it seems that the YDC is on the warpath now that Kisenosato has retired. Hakuho is truly the greatest rikishi most of us will ever see, and it would seem a shame to not give him the time and “cover” he needs to return to fighting form. After the 9 partial or complete kyujo granted to Kisenosato, this episode would seem tough to swallow. But as a westerner, I recognize my perspective is different, and I see these men as athletes, and not as cultural icons.

Tachiai hopes “The Boss” can get healthy and return to tossing everyone around like a hacky-sack soon.

Hakuho goes Kyujo

Shortly after the beginning of Day 14 at the Kokugikan, it has been announced that Yokozuna Hakuho will be absent as of this day. The official reason has not been published at this time, but Sponichi reports that the right knee, on which he had the operation, may be the culprit.

This will likely leave the Yokozuna’s score at 10-4-1 (except in the unlikely event he returns on senshuraku), with the Yusho to be determined, in all likelihood, between Tamawashi and Takakeisho.

Going kyujo may have further implications, as kyujo rikishi may not participate in public events, and the Hakuho Cup is due early next month.

Tachiai will keep you informed on the situation as it develops.

Hakuho to be absent from Kyusho basho

Hakuho trains post-operation

Miyagino oyakata, Hakuho’s stablemaster, announced today that the Yokozuna will be absent from the Kyushu basho due to the condition of his knee.

This announcement should come as no surprise to our readers. On October 12, the Yokozuna left the Jungyo and returned to Tokyo, after it turned out that a bone fragment, a remainder from his injury during the Nagoya basho, is loose in his knee and gives him debilitating pain.

The Yokozuna underwent double endoscopic surgery on October 18th. He had the bone fragment removed from his knee, and at the same time had floating pieces of cartilage removed from his ankle on the same side.

Following that operation and the required rest, the Yokozuna has not had actual training bouts in over a month, and even his basic workouts have been severely limited and far between.

We at Tachiai wish the Yokozuna to return healthy and in good shape in the Hatsu basho.


Aki 2018 Jungyo – Day 9 (Oct 11)

🌐 Location: Kasugai, Aichi
🚫 Scandal level: 0

yokozuna-face-each-other
Time to wake up, Kandayu!

The tour reaches Aichi. Many active rikishi hail from Aichi, but most of them are in Makushita and below and are not present in the Jungyo. But there is one sekitori who gets all the glory when the Jungyo hits Aichi-ken. I give you… Akiseyama!

akiseyama

Aren’t you glad that I couldn’t find any other pictures or videos of the star of the day?

With sekitori dropping like flies, this day brings some replenishment, as several sekitori catch a train to Nagoya and join the jungyo. We have Tochiozan:

tochiozan

accompanied by his heya-mate, Aoiyama:

aoiyama

And we had this guy:

Yeah, we now have a complete set of Ozeki. Nominally, we also have a complete set of Yokozuna, but we already know one of them is not in the best condition:

hakuho-stretching

Hakuho does not skip work, but he is in a bad way. You can see him limping:

But he was very diligent about his fansa:

Good bye, Yokozuna. This is the last we will see of him in this Jungyo.

Going back inside the venue, Tamawashi was having a conversation with Mitakeumi, who still seems to be fascinated with the Eagle’s nipples:

Eventually he tries to trip Tamawashi. And Tamawashi is all like “You want to trip a Mongolian wrestler? You’ll have to do better than that”.

Nishikigi was prowling the grounds, lurking, waiting for anything wearing a mawashi:

Chiyonokuni was his usual enthusiastic self, in a moshiai session with Ryuden.

But enthusiasm was not enough to win.

Since Nishikigi seemed bored, Kisenosato decided to have a sanban session with him:

Nishikigi quite comfortably manages the makikae there, and the Yokozuna does not take advantage of that to push him out of the ring. Odd. Also, he can’t defend against the makikae itself by locking his armpit.

OK, this looks more like Kisenosato.

Oops. Slippiotoshi. The yokozuna is not happy to win other than by his own power, and expresses his opinion to Nishikigi’s tush.

OK, now he’s a happy Yokozuna.

Yet another loss of balance from Nishikigi, who seems to have his ass in the stratosphere. Kisenosato gives it yet another hearty slap. At this point Nishikigi must be wishing hard he did not do so well in the previous basho, because he might actually get to meet Kisenosato and all the rest of the sanyaku in the next one.

Keiko is over. Everybody is going to get cleaned, but Kotoshogiku goes for something special:

kotoshogiku-in-onsen

It’s an onsen. In fact, this onsen:

I think that’s quite a nice way to get yourself cleaned up for the torikumi.

In the mean time we have the low ranking torikumi, and surprisingly, the only torikumi I have for the day is Arikawa’s. Arikawa, whom the fans call “Arikawa dai-sensei”, is Kisenosato’s tsukebito:

Not half-bad! Nice tawara dance.

It’s time for the Juryo dohyo-iri. And apparently, Enho changed his kesho-mawashi back to the one he received from his alma mater.

enho-changed-mawashi

My guess would be that this is in preparation for the jungyo event in Kanazawa, where that university is located (and where he comes from).

He is followed there by Wakatakakage. So where is Terutsuyoshi?

terutsuyoshi-gokushindo

Apparently, he has to touch someone, so why not Gokushindo?

Gokushindo, by the way, travels the Jungyo as one of Kakuryu’s team of tsukebito. But he is about to graduate from it, like Abi did, as he turned sekitori. The Yokozuna informed him that he will not be allowed back once he “graduated” – so stick to Juryo, pal! His replacement is Shohoryu (not Hoshoryu – Shohoryu, the guy with the hula sagari). So watch out for Shohoryu from now on.

Well, here is your Tobizaru of the day:

tobizaru

News Flash: Hakuho leaves Jungyo over knee bone fracture

hakuho
Hakuho as photographed Oct 11

As the Jungyo reports I publish here lag a few days behind schedule, the readers may not be aware that Hakuho has been off the Torikumi for the past three days. The reason for this was pains in his right knee, which you can see taped in the photo above.

Although he tried to gambarize, eventually he went to have his knee examined in Tokyo. It turned out that a part of his tibia (tibial tubercle?) has broken off. He published his X-ray in his Twitter account:

In the tweet he announces his kyujo, apologizes to the fans awaiting him in the various Jungyo locations, and says he will be undergoing rehabilitation/care.

This puts his participation in Kyushu in jeopardy, as healing from a fracture may take several weeks and he will need time to train back to Yokozuna level of sumo.

We wish the dai-Yokozuna speedy recovery.