Sunday marks day eight and the halfway point for the Hatsu Basho, or the first sumo wrestling tournament of 2018.
To nearly everyone’s surprise, the forgotten Yokozuna Kakuryu is in sole possession of the tournament lead, with an undefeated record of 8-0. After pulling out of every single tournament in 2017, and being under the threat of forced retirement, Kakuryu had been unstoppable. Displaying some of the best sumo he’s ever fought, Kakuryu seems to be in the driver’s seat for the last week of competition. Both his peer Yokozuna Hakuho and Kinsenosato have withdrew from the Basho, making his path to victory even easier.
In a tournament where all eyes were on the legendary Hakuho or the beleaguered Kinsenosato to restore the sport’s dignity, Karuryu has somehow captured the attention of the sporting nation, and for all the right reasons. Watch Yokozuna Kakuryu make short work of Shodai who is fighting ranked at Maegashira #4,
Directly below Yokozuna Kakuryu on the leader board is a pack of three Rikishi fighters tied with a 7-1 record: Sekiwake Mitakeumi, Tochinoshin ranked at Maegashira #3, and finally Daieisho at Maegashira #13. They are trailed by another trio of wrestlers who are at 6-2.
Interestingly enough, Sekiwake Mitakeumi and M3 Tochinoshin are scheduled to face off during Monday’s matches, so it seems as if only one will truly challenge Kakuryu for the Emperor’s Cup. Watch the resurgent Georgian sumo Tochinoshin dominate Yoshikaze on day eight to maintain his 7-1 record.
Both Ozeki Goeido and Takayasu are just a tick off the lead at 5-3 displaying strong sumo. I expect both to finish the Basho with good records, but not contend with the leaders for the tournament championship. Check out Ozeki Takayasu over-power struggling Komusubi Takakeisho on the 8th day of sumo.
Can the forgotten Yokozuna Kakuryu complete his journey of redemption? Check in next Sunday to see who will capture sumo wrestling’s first Emperor’s Cup of 2018.