Ozeki Train Wreck, Part 5 – Takayasu

Readers of the site know I have been a big fan of Takayasu for years, and I even hope that one day he can still win his first yusho. During the Nagoya basho, Takayasu injured his elbow in a day 8 match against Tamawashi, after Tamawashi’s poorly executed throw attempt ended with the Ozeki’s left arm injured at the elbow. Following that match, Takayasu struggled to finish to tournament with 8 wins. In the days following the basho, it was clear the injury was significant, and Takayasu skipped all extra activities to focus on recovery. Nobody was surprised he was kyujo from the entirety of Aki, and absent activities following that.

Since the publication of the Kyushu banzuke, Takayasu has tried to return to training, with the intention of entering the basho and securing at least 8 wins. He enters the tournament as a kadoban Ozeki, and must secure kachi-koshi to avoid a demotion to Sekiwake, where we find Tochinoshin this November.

Takayasu’s physical state, with just a few days to go prior to the first day of the basho, is not good. In training bouts he has shown little power on his left side, and a real tendency to protect his left arm. Clearly the damage to his elbow is still bothering him, and is impacting his sumo. His condition is poor enough that he struggled to defeat Onosho, Tomokaze and Ryuden. This is not a rikishi in condition for Ozeki sumo.

Sadly, this may be a case of yet another Tagonoura kanban-rikishi who sustains a serious but treatable injury opting to let it “heal naturally” and in doing so, attenuating their sumo career.

Aki Story 3 – Tochinoshin


Only 4 months ago, the sumo world celebrated Tochinoshin‘s monumental achievement. Battling back from a knee injury that could have ended his career he achieved the rarified rank of Ozeki with an impressive 37 wins over 3 consecutive tournaments. Sadly, his first tournament as Ozeki ended prematurely when he injured a big toe, and found he could no longer transmit power to ground. Tochinoshin finished Nagoya with 5 wins, and is now facing his first tournament as a kadoban Ozeki.

Just after his promotion, a post on this site detailing concerns over Tochinoshin’s unpredictable performance collected a good number of unhappy responses from readers and Tochinoshin fans. In that post, the case was made that Tochinoshin is perhaps the most fierce man in sumo – when he is healthy. But historically, consistent performance has been elusive for him. With the Aki basho just days away, Tochinoshin is employing his considerable work ethic to drive himself to be ready to compete, even though he continues to cite problems with his feet.

On Tuesday, Tochinoshin faced Ozeki hopeful Mitakeumi, along with Aoiyama and Tochiozan in a joint training session, engaging in an impressive 26 bouts. His record at the end of the day was a respectable 15-11. For Tochinoshin, it’s just another day of sumo. He has always shown that he is willing to train harder, to work longer than almost anyone. He is driven to succeed.

Team Tachiai is looking forward to seeing him back in action at Aki, and we hope that he clears his Kadoban status quickly and decisively.

Ozeki Takayasu Kyujo For Natsu, Too!


In a one-two blow for Tagonoura beya, Ozeki Takaysu is also listed as Kyujo for the upcoming Natsu basho. It has been clear for the past several days that he was nursing injuries to both arms, and now he has (wisely in my opinion) decided to recover rather than risk a career-limiting injury.

Takayasu represents Japan’s best hope for a native-born Yokozuna should ailing Kisenosato end up retiring later this year. It is a wise move to have him recover his strength and mobility before returning to competition.  With this absence, Takayasu will be kadoban ozeki for the Nagoya tournament in July.

The ranks for Natsu are already down to 2 Yokozuna and 1 Ozeki.  Should Hakuho withdraw, as Kintamayama has speculated, it would leave the roster with the bare minimum of 2 Ozeki/Yokozuna needed to conduct Honbasho.

As of late, Takayasu has added a habitual shoulder blast to his tachiai, and it has significantly changed his sumo (in my opinion for the worse). It comes as no surprise to me that he has injured it, and with any luck, he will go back to his low and aggressive sumo. The run-and-gun approach (in some ways copying Goeido) was working for him, but it seems to have torn up his body.

The team at Tachiai wish Takayasu a solid recovery, and hope to see him back in fierce fighting form in July.

Ozeki Goeido Clears Kadoban, Sole Aki Basho Leader

Ozeki Goeido, Once Again Free of Kadoban Status

During day 9 action, Kadoban Ozeki Goeido scored his 8th win in a match against Aoiyama, marking his kachi-koshi and the removal of the kadoban status from his rank. This means Goeido is no longer at risk of losing his rank. Meanwhile, the rest of the basho co-leaders lost on day 9, leaving Goeido as the sole leader for the Emperor’s Cup with 6 days of competition to go.

Tachiai congratulates Ozeki Goeido, and wish him good fortune in defending his lead against an army of eager challengers.