On January 16th, Yokozuna Kakuryu reported to the Japan Sumo Association that he would be absent from day 5 of the New Year Basho. Hakuho also pulled out the day before citing cellulitis, a fever, and back pain, leaving this tournament with no Yokozuna.
At last year’s September tournament, Kakuryu prematurely left the action after a left knee injury. Two months later, Kakuryu’s last minute decision to withdraw due to sudden back pain at morning practice left us without a second Yokozuna for the entirety of the following Kyushu Basho as well.
A lackluster performance with a third defeat from rank-and-filer Myogiryu on only the fourth day of Hatsu saw Kakuryu’s hopes for a comeback dashed. His excuse for such a showing is a left ankle injury, according to his stablemaster Michinoku-oyakata. “He said with the injury he couldn’t keep a solid footing.” said Michinoku. He also stated that Kakuryu was suffering from a cold and had lost weight leading up to the tournament. “He wanted to continue to the end and see if he could regain his ‘sumo sense’ but his body and what he was feeling couldn’t quite match up. It’s difficult to get everything in the body to 100%, but we want to see with medical treatment if he can be ready for spring training.”
This will be his third straight time going kyujo, and his 15th overall. The default win will go to his day 5 scheduled opponent, M2 Mitakeumi.
Source article: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20200116/k10012247351000.html