Hideki Asanoyama enjoyed great success at the inaugural Sumo event of 2021, held in Tokyo, January. Now, the Ozeki wrester has a different and more personal reason to celebrate: it’s his birthday!
Fans across the world recently took to social media to send their best wishes to Ozeki Asanoyama on his 27th birthday, less than a fortnight before taking centre stage at the 2021 Spring Sumo tournament.
Despite his devastating withdrawal from the 2020 November Basho due to a shoulder injury he picked up on the first day of bouts, Asanoyama looks to be in good shape heading into the forthcoming event. This comes after his strong finish to the 2021 January Sumo tourney, defeating fellow Ozeki, Shodai, as well as other notable rivals, such as the Maegashira #3 Meisei and Sekiwake Takanosho.
However, with the two Yokuzuna fighters, Hakuho and Kakuryu, returning to the ring this month, the Ozeki competitor will have his work cut-out for him if he is to replicate the stellar performance from two months ago.
Hakuho and Kakuryu aren’t the only potential threats for Asanoyama; Daieisho, ahead of his incredible championship victory at the beginning of the year, will be looking to add another title to his growing collection of trophies.
While there is clearly a fierce list of competitors awaiting to disrupt the Ozeki fighter’s bid for the Yusho, Asanoyama, who debuted in the Makuuchi division back in 2017, is far from being a stranger to success in the toughest of circumstances. In the 2019 May tournament, Asanoyama became the first ever wrester from Toyama Pref. to win a top division championship, after defeating Tochinoshin on the final day of proceedings. He also achieved his first kinboshi in the subsequent 2019 July Basho, with an incredible win over Yokozuna Kakuryu.
In addition, due to Hakuho and Kakaryu’s lack of participation over the last 8-10 months amid health and injury related concerns, it’s tough to predict how the two Yokozuna will fare in the upcoming March Basho. Taking advantage of this will prove paramount for Asanoyama, if he wishes to conclude his birthday season in style, and claim the second Sumo event of 2021
Will the birthday boy and his campaign for the Spring Yusho prove successful? We will have to wait and see; however, one thing is certain: with the support of the fans, Asanoyama will head into the event with his head held high, full of confidence.
Therefore, watch out Hakuho and Kakuryu; Ozeki Asanoyama is coming after you!