Nagoya 2019 Health Report
Sumo is a rough sport, and injuries are not uncommon. Sekitori really like to play down injuries. Also, some can work around injuries to still compete at a high enough level. Watching injuries is key to knowing who might be up and who might be down.
Yet sometimes they come out of nowhere. Yesterday, the Day 1 Torikumi, the match slate, was announced. On it, Maegashira 11 Yoshikaze was unlisted. Turns out, he's been battling a right knee injury for awhile, and it's gotten worse. Yoshikaze will miss the whole tournament at a low enough spot to guarantee a drop to Juryo for September. If his participation there isn't sure, he could go down to Makushita. As a 37 year old, he is very old for a sekitori, plus he has an elder name secured. (Someone is borrowing it, though.) Yoshikaze could easily have participated in his final match.
The rest of the concerns are listed below in bullet point:
Takakeisho. Takakeisho injured his knee in the May tournament, and was hoping to be back for Nagoya. The Ozeki was working hard, but had yet to face any other wrestlers from the top two divisions. His stablemaster made him pull out for his own long-term health. Hats off to Chiganoura oyakata for that. In September, Takakeisho will drop back down to Sekiwake, but he'll be able to get repromoted to Ozeki with 10 wins.
Hakuho. The dai-Yokozuna is recovering from a biceps injury. Nonetheless, he seems ready to go, including whipping whichever lower ranked wrestler has decided to work out with him. (See Asanoyama.)
Takayasu. The Ozeki is not practicing great guns. Then again, he doesn't seem to ever do that. Who knows how to read that.
Tochinoshin. The big Georgian visited his homeland in June, and that means he hasn't worked out in the stable as much as usual. He is still on aching knees, but he says he is able to go. Maybe he will just always be someone to watch.
Asanoyama. The most recent yusho winner decided to train with Hakuho a few days ago. That didn't go well. Not only did he go 2-9 over 11 matches, he was reportedly "half-concussed" in the final match. All reports say he's good to defend his title, but that's worth paying attention to.
Ichinojo. The gigantic Mongolian had to miss a few matches in Natsu, because carrying that weight is difficult. There have been few reports he's got a problem, but a fully healthy Ichinojo is a future Yokozuna. He might never be a consistent Sanyaku presence because he can't stay healthy.
Enho. Hakuho's uchi-deshi (mentee, basically) is struggling with a shoulder injury. Probably because he is trying to lift men twice his size. He is in a position where he probably needs 8 wins to guarantee he stays up in Makuuchi.
Kaisei. There have been no reports on Kaisei, but the Brazilian had to withdraw from the previous tournament. If he is 100%, which might not exist for a sumo wrestler, he should clean up down here.
Serious training is probably done for most, so hopefully no more injuries come up. Tournament starts Sunday, so see you then.