FUNABASHI, CHIBA PREF. – Injury-plagued yokozuna Kisenosato resumed full-fledged practice bouts Monday, performing 13 matches with Yago, who was promoted to the second-highest juryo division for the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament starting Sunday.
“I prepared myself physically before entering the dohyo ring,” the 31-year-old yokozuna said after a training session at the Nishonoseki stable in Chiba Prefecture. “I have a long way to go. I can’t say I’m in good condition or bad condition.”
Kisenosato, who missed part of the previous two meets in May and July due to injuries to his upper left arm, chest and left ankle, won all his bouts against Yago but did not show some of his trademark moves.
Sumo elders who watched the session expressed worries over Kisenosato’s condition and preparedness for the upcoming 15-day tourney at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.
“He still looks uneasy,” said Nishonoseki, the Japan Sumo Association’s judging director. “If he’s going to take part (in the Autumn tourney) I want him to be in line to compete for the championship.”
Stablemaster Shibatayama said the yokozuna is not ready for competition.
“He is not in a condition to engage in bouts at a sumo tournament. I felt that he was just testing how much he has recovered from his injuries,” he said.
Kisenosato’s Tagonoura stablemate ozeki Takayasu had 18 practice bouts with grapplers, including komusubi Tamawashi and Kotoshogiku, and ended with a 13-5 record.
“I tried a wide variety of moves,” said the 27-year-old wrestler. “I confirmed that I need to thrust myself forward (to win). I will continue powerful training.”
Meanwhile, Mongolian yokozuna Kakuryu, who withdrew from the Nagoya meet in July after injuring his right ankle, told reporters in Tokyo that he will decide in the next several days whether or not he will compete in the Autumn Basho.
“There’s no doubt that it’s getting better overall,” said Kakuryu, who said he is now able to do some of sumo’s basic training moves such as the leg stomps and sliding forward in a squatting position.
“But the part where I had a chip fracture still hurts so I can’t step hard,” the 32-year-old said.