2019 Kyushu Basho: Day 3
Holy cats! It’s Day 3 of the Kyushu Basho and the wheels have already come off the rails. Yesterday we saw something that had only ever been seen once before in modern era sumo—ALL participating rikishi ranked sekiwake and higher LOST on the same day. For those of you keeping track at home that’s yokozuna Hakuho, ozeki Takayasu, ozeki Takakeisho, ozeki Goeido (who withdrew from the tournament because of an ankle injury), sekiwake Tochinoshin, and sekiwake Mitakeumi. They all lost and, what’s more, they all looked pretty bad in doing so.
• I was a little worried about Hakuho. Although he clearly lost because M1 Daieisho got inside his defenses and pushed him off balance, Hakuho didn’t even put up a struggle at the ring’s edge and seemed to favor his left leg/knee. I worry that this might mask an ongoing weakness in that limb.
• After looking strong on Day 1, Takayasu got blown away at the tachi-ai [initial charge] yesterday, renewing questions as to whether he’s really at full health.
• Tochinoshin got pulled onto his belly again on Day 2. Though he seems fit in body and spirit, this to me makes me worry that he’s just not “tournament sharp.” He now has to win ten of his remaining thirteen matches in order to regain his ozeki ranking . . . and if he’s not sharp then there’s no way that’s going to happen.
• The scariest moment yesterday was at the end of the match between M4 Kotoyuki and M3 Tomokaze. It was a relatively unspectacular bout, with Tomokaze being maneuvered out of the ring. However, when he hopped down off the dohyo, his knee buckled and he collapsed. The rising young star needed help to get off the floor and into a wheelchair, and was in obvious agony as the took him from the arena straight to the hospital. (I don’t recommend watching the video if you’re at all squeamish as his knee was clearly out of joint.) I just hope that it was a “clean” injury and not something that will require surgery to correct.
We head into Day 3 action with komusubi Asanoyama as the ONLY sanyaku-level rikishi still undefeated, and he squares off against Hakuho today!