Five days into the Summer Basho and already a leaderboard has emerged. And it includes the two biggest stories in sumo wrestling.
First, the triumphant return of Tochinoshin. At the end of 2013, the Georgian wrestler was forced to pull out of the Nagoya Basho. After constantly challenging for a Komusubi title since 2010, Tochinoshin missed three tournaments to finish 2013. Of course, in the unforgiving world of sumo, he fell all the way out of the top two professional divisions, down to Makushita #55.
A return to the top division in 2015 saw the Georgian once again trying to maintain a Komusubi title, competing with a new crop of youngsters to challenge the elite.
That all changed this year as Tochinoshin won the January Basho as a Maegashira rank. With all the shake ups in the upper ranks, it was a perfect time to go on a tear. It was clear in that January tournament that Tochinoshin was taking his game to a new level. Following up with a 10-5 record in March, despite an injury, Tochinoshin needs 10 quality victories in Toyko for promotion to Ozeki rank.
Let’s watch a heated matchup between Tochinoshin and emerging star Abi from Day Two.
Of course, the best part of the Summer Basho is the return of the Sumo GOAT. Hakuho is taking back the top spot in the sport and dominating all of his first day matches with relative ease.
It’s come to the point where his early day matchups seem so psyched out by facing the legend that they are beaten before the tachiai starts. Look at how scared poor Daieisho looks lining up across from the calm death that is Hakuho. That’s a beaten man.
We can only hope these two giants remain undefeated or at least equal losses into the last week of sumo. A matchup between Tochinoshin and Hakuho to determine the winner of the Emperor’s Cup is exactly was this sport and all fans of sumo deserve.