Happy New Year!
With a hopeful and brighter 2021 replacing the gruelling year that was 2020, it’s fair to say that fans of Sumo around the world will be immensely looking forward to the first Sumo tournament of the year. The world’s best wrestlers will fight it out in the ring for the chance of being crowned champion at the 2021 January Sumo Competition.
Hakuho Test’s Positive for Covid-19
Fans of the world-famous Mongolian born Yokozuna wrestler, Hakuho, were met with sad news earlier this week, as the thirty-five-year-old tested positive for Covid-19, forcing him to withdraw from the January tourney.
Still yet to post any update on Social Media as to how he is faring, we can only hope and pray for his quick recovery; the team at My-Dohyo is with you, Yokozuna Hakuho!
Kakuryu Pulled Out From The event With Lower-Back Problems
Hakuho’s withdrawal from tomorrow’s tourney wasn’t the only upset for sumo fans across the globe, as yet another Yokozuna has been plagued with misfortune; this time it is the injury-prone Kakuryu who was pulled out of the upcoming tournament earlier this week by his stable-master Michinoku, since he is suffering with lower-back pain.
Kakuryu, who last won a Sumo tournament one and a half years ago (July 2019 was his last yūshō), had hoped to be fit for the January event. However, continued lower-back pain – in addition to an elbow problem – have shattered those hopes for the Mongolian competitor.
The thirty-five-year-old wrestler is said to be pinning “his career on the line at the next tournament (in March) and is working to regain his fitness so he can resume training as early as possible,” – stablemaster Michinoku
Favourites for the yūshō!
With the two Yokozuna ranked sumo wrestlers unable to participate in tomorrow’s basho, the title will surely be keenly looked-upon by the next highest-ranked rikishi, the three Ozeki wrestlers: Takakeisho, Shodai and Asanoyama.
Having been crowned Makuuchi division champion in the 2020 November tourney, finishing the competition with an outstanding win-record of 13-2, it is the twenty-four-year-old Takakeisho who is perhaps the favourite for the January Championships. His outstanding career record of 288-150-30 certainly boosts his winning expectations heading into tomorrow!
Close on Takakeisho’s heels is the twenty-nine-year-old Shodai. Five years Takakeisho’s senior, the Kumamoto born Ozeki, Shodai, certainly has an advantage in terms of experience over his younger fellow wrestler. After having been awarded the 2020 September Makuuchi Division Champion Shukun-sho (Outstanding Performance Award), as well as the Kanto-sho (Fighting Spirit Prize), the newly-found favourite Takakeisho will have to keep a close and watchful eye on the powerful Shodai!
With regards to Asanoyama, questions are raised as to how competitive he will prove to be in January: with poor results in the recent Sumo competitions, such as the 2020 November tournament where he finished with a lowly win record of 1-2-12, Asanoyama will have to be on top-form if he wants to prove a challenge for the other two dominant Ozeki fighters.
Bouts You Need to Watch!
From the long list of Makuuchi Division bouts ready to take place tomorrow in Japan’s capital, the attention must be on the three Ozeki bouts:
- Asanoyama (Ozeki) VS Daeisho (Maegashira #1)
- Hokutofuji (Maegashira #1) VS Shodai (Ozeki)
- Takakeisho (Ozkei) VS Mitakeumi (Komusubi).
After these three bouts have concluded, we will have more of an understanding of the level of Sumo the top ranked wrestlers are bringing into the new year.
Bring on the Sumo!