This past Haru Basho marked 10 years of professional sumo for 25 year old Takanosho of Chiganoura-beya. It was only his fifth tournament in the top division, but scoring 12 wins earned him his first fighting spirit prize, co-runner-up with Kakuryu, and a career high of East Maegashira 2 on the current rankings chart.
Takanosho revealed his feelings going into a sumo drought with the May tournament and several upcoming regional tours being canceled. “I’m switching my focus to preparing for July,” said Takanosho, “I’m thoroughly honing my foundation by doing what I can at the moment, mainly basic exercises.”
After making great strides with his push-style sumo, Takanosho has made it to the top section of the rank-and-file banzuke, known as the joi-jin, an achievement he said he had been aiming for. The joi-jin (generally Maegashira 4 and above) fight the toughest competition and are almost always pitted against the Yokozuna.
“I think I’m nervous about fighting Yokozuna, but I’m also looking forward to it,” he said eagerly. His nerves may be justified if Hakuho and Kakuryu are able to reproduce their fighting form from March, although Hakuho gave up one kinboshi to M5 Onosho, and Kakuryu was defeated by M2 Tokushoryu. Takanosho’s chance is scheduled to come late July, and we can’t wait to see how he will do his first time against them.