Sumo Sunday: Hatsu Basho Day 1
Corona wreaks havoc on the competition
Today was the first day of the Sumo Hatsu Basho, AKA the January New Year’s Tournament, and it had a few unexpected results at the top. (SPOILER) The two highest ranked wrestlers lost in their opening matches, and a couple of likely challengers from lower down the ranks looked strong - you can always check out Natto Sumo for the day’s bouts, but be aware they disappear off youtube fast.
But despite the upset Ozekis, it hasn’t been the biggest news of the tournament so far: 16 wrestlers (including the grandmaster-ranked Yokozunas) from the top divisions aren’t even able to participate for the entire two-week tournament. The reason of course being COVID-19 (and one Yokozuna for a long-term injury). Missing 16 wrestlers is quite a lot and with the Tokyo area back in a state-of-emergency as the positive cases soar I wonder why even bother to go ahead with the tournament, but of course the answer to that is TV and sponsorship revenue.* Much as it will be with the forthcoming Olympics that 80% of Japanese don’t want.
For all these reasons and more I wasn’t terribly excited about this tournament and wasn’t planning to write anything about it, but then I saw some fantastic pictures on the official Sumo Association Twitter account and figured I could write enough to post those. So here it is and here they are.
Akiseyama (left) is frankly a little gross looking, but he’s got deceptive power and took out young gun Kotonowaka today.
Midorifuji (left) jukes Akua - agility is a HUGE part of sumo.
Beefcake Takayasu (left) unable to keep his balance against Onosho.
Daiesho (right) overpowers the Ozeki Asanoyama as Hokutofuji looks on.
Mitakeumi (right) confidently wears down Yokozuna-hopeful Takakeisho.
That’s it! Thanks to whoever took these great pictures (I took from Twitter) and to Natto Sumo for the upload as always. My sensible pick after Day 1 is Shodai and my super dark horse pick is Ichinojo, who looked stronger today than he has in ages. We’ll see in two weeks! ✌
+If you missed RIZIN 26 check out the Fight Diary while you watch all the fights on youtube; this coming week look out for a Max Cloud/Boss Level Shitty Movie Double Feature, followed by ONE: Unbreakable.
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