MyDohyo are returning for the November basho to bring you the latest information from the world of professional Sumo, with tournament progression updates every three days and live tweets to guide you along as the action unfolds!
After a lengthy absence from our calendars, Grand Sumo is set for a spectacular return to our screens on November the 8th. We’ve already seen an incredible 4 tournaments this year, with each providing plenty of twists and turns – including the stunning Yusho victories from Maegashira#17 rikishi Tokushoryu (January), Terunofuji (July) and the Ozeki promotion winning performance by former Sekiwake Shodai in September.
The only Yokozuna to win a yusho so far in 2020 is Hakuho, who won the march basho in a close fight against the West Yokozuna, Kakuryu. Both wrestlers have struggled attaining match fitness since this tournament, with Hakuho undergoing surgery on both knees after the July competition drew to a close while Kakuryu suffered from an elbow injury at the same time. Unfortunately, Kakuryu’s spell of bad luck will continue until the end of the 2020 season, as the Japan Times are reporting that the West Yokozuna has withdrawn from the November tournament, citing a “lower back complaint” (source). The same news outlet have reported that Hakuho has also pulled out from the November basho and will therefore end the season with 1 yusho (source). As can be seen in Figure 1, for Hakuho to win less than two tournaments within a season is a rare occurrence – to the end that it has only happened now twice in the last 14 years.
Looking ahead to the November basho, there are numerous rikishi to keep a close eye on, all of whom are in good form and in with a chance at taking the yusho: Firstly, Shodai was the winner of the September tournament and secured promotion to the prestigious Ozeki rank and therefore cannot be taken lightly going forwards. Secondly, Former Ozeki Takayasu appears to be making somewhat of a comeback of late, with a new promotion to Sekiwake coming off the back of the September outing, where he finished with an impressive 13-2 kachi-koshi winning record and will be fighting to maintain his position.
All being said, there are so many rikishi that have done surprisingly well in recent tournaments, that it would be a crime to rule them out of yusho contention, the likes of: Mitakeumi, Onosho, Terunofuji, Wakatakakage and Tobizaru are well within a fighting chance of causing an upset during this basho and are worthy of mention.
Finally, regardless as to whether they are match fit or not, the trio of fantastic Ozeki present in this tournament in the forms of: Asanoyama, Takakeisho and Shodai, look set to light up our screens with excellent sumo action right from Day 1!