2017 Nagoya Basho Starts Tomorrow

Hakuho will look to build upon the success of a 15-0 title run in May when he competes in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, which begins tomorrow. Yokozunas Harumafuji and Kisenosato, as well as newly-promoted ozeki Takayasu, are all also vying for the crown.

Hakuho, who usually dominates the grand sumo tournaments all around the calendar year, won his first basho title in over a year back in May, when he won the summer basho with a perfect record. Harumafuji, who defeated Hakuho in the finals of last year’s Nagoya basho, looks for another title in this tournament.

Kisenosato, just announced his participation in the tournament on Thursday. Kisenosato missed the last five days of the summer basho tournament in May due to chest and arm injuries. Despite losing to lower-ranked wrestlers and skipping a few training sessions, Tagonoura, Kisenosato’s stablemaster, says he feels Kisenosato’s fitness is fine enough for tournament participation.

Takayasu, Kisenosato’s stablemate who went 11-4 in the May tournament, became the first to be promoted to ozeki since the Mongolian Terunofuji accomplished that feat in 2015.

The two had some practice bouts recently, with Kisenosato putting a beating on the new ozeki and winning all 10 bouts. But, Takayasu tells The Japan Times he is not worried.

“The yokozuna [Kisenosato] delivered some hard hits and I could not shove into him,” he said. “But I am in good condition. I want to keep increasing my strength both physically and mentally. I’m feeling relaxed.”

This tournament marks the first time four yokozuna and three ozeki are set to compete in a grand sumo tournament for the first time since 2000.

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