The Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, which begins on November 12, has been the focus of much attention because of the challenge by ozeki Takaketsugu (27) to become yokozuna, but at ……, it is difficult to say for sure that this will be the place to win the ropes. The “content” of the fall tournament, which he won for the fourth time, has had an impact on this situation. Before the first day of the Kyushu Tournament, we would like to take another look at how Takaketsugu’s “tug of war” will turn out.
The yokozuna judging committee mentioned the possibility of a “tug of war,” but ……
Takaketsugu, who heads to the Kyushu tournament as east ozeki, won the last autumn tournament with an 11-4 record after winning the championship match against atamifuji (21), a hiramatsu wrestler. His four championships are the second most among ozeki-ranked rikishi, following Kaio (now Asakayama Oyakata), who has won five times. There are many yokozuna who have won less than four championships. There is nothing wrong with this record.
Under normal circumstances, the Kyushu Grand Tournament would have been a big deal for yokozuna as a “tug-of-war” event. Under the bylaws of the Yokozuna Judging Committee, an ozeki-ranked rikishi must have “outstanding dignity and strength,” win two consecutive championships, or have a similarly good record. If Takaketsugu wins two consecutive tournaments, he will meet the requirements for promotion to yokozuna.
Immediately after the fall tournament, Masayuki Yamauchi, chairman of the Yokozuna Judging Committee, praised Takaketsugu’s victory, saying, ” He fulfilled his responsibility and awareness as an ozeki. He even went so far as to say, “If the conditions and preconditions are met, there will be expectations for him to be crowned ozeki-ranked champion in the next tournament.
In reality, however, the issue of Kikagatsu’s capture of the ropes in the Kyushu tournament is not on the chopping block at this point, because the yokozuna advisory committee has not been consulted. This is because the Japan Sumo Association’s judging committee, which discusses yokozuna promotions before consulting the yokozuna judging committee, has not stated whether or not the Kyushu tournament will be Takanori’s “ropework.
Hurdles are high for Takaketsugi’s “ropework
There are several reasons why there have been no calls from the refereeing committee for Takaketsugi to be named the winner of the ropes. One is that his record at the autumn tournament, where he won the championship, was 11 wins.
Since the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in 1958, when the six-day tournament system was introduced, there have been only four championships won with 11 victories, including the autumn tournament. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the lowest level of victory, with the fewest number of wins.
Another negative factor was the “change” that Takaketsugu showed in the deciding match in the fall tournament against Atami-fuji, who was in his second year as a maegashira. Former yokozuna Kitakatsumi Hakkaku complained that he was “a little disappointed” in the ozeki’s change against his flat-table opponent, and criticism of Takakaketsugu swirled on social networking sites.
If Takakagesatsu were to win two consecutive tournaments, he might be considered for the “ozeki-ranked” title only if he wins all of his matches or achieves a high level of victory, such as 14-1, and if he performs like an ozeki-ranked wrestler.
For Kikagatsu, winning a high-level championship is no easy task. Of his four previous victories, the most wins came in the Kyushu tournament in 2006 and 2008, when he won 13 matches.
He also has an old neck injury. The Nisshonoseki clan’s combined training began on November 5, but Kikagatsu showed signs of being concerned about his neck during training on November 5, and the next day he missed training because he felt discomfort in his neck. Even before the “ropework,” there is a lot of uncertainty about whether or not Takaketsugu will win the Kyushu Tournament.
Even if he were to win two consecutive tournaments, what would the judging committee and the Yokozuna Judging Committee make of a 12- or 13-win season? It must be said that the hurdles to becoming yokozuna are high.
Photo： Kyodo News