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.