In preparation for the upcoming basho, Kisenosato participated in a public training session with Shohozan and other wrestlers in Aichi, going 20-1 by the end. After the training session was over, the Ozeki said that he has sworn revenge for his 11-4 last minute stumble at natsu which cost him the yusho and is doing everything in his power to make sure he leaves no regrets in Nagoya this year. He also apparently got the recently-re-promoted takanoyama to jump in a tire for him to drag around so he could work on developing his legs. I don’t know how effective that really is, but I do love the image of the balding czech riding around in a tire strapped to the kid going “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
Kissy isn’t the only one putting some sweat into the ring as the sole yokozuna Hakuho was seen pumping iron using dumbbells at practice the other day. Hakuho normally isn’t known to hit the weights like former yokozuna asashoryu used to, but has said that he is trying to develop his finer muscles so he can to avoid a repeat performance of last basho’s 10-5 finish.
In another effort to boost popularity in the sumo world, Misaki Iwasa, the 17 year old from the idol group AKB48, paid a visit to to the isenoumi stable to interview Ikoi. Ikoi managed to just scrape his way into makuuchi this basho at the lowest rank of M16. Their interview will air sometime during the basho during the “Rikishi Introduction Corner” which usually airs during the break between Juryo and Makuuchi. Exactly what day this interview airs is still a mystery, so we will just have to watch every day to get a glimpse of the maegashira macking on lil’ miss AKB. As a side note, Isami is ranked 33rd in the AKB ranks, and Ikioi recently came in 16th in an informal popularity poll of current sumo wrestlers.
Disgraced ozeki turned yakiniku joint owner Kotomitsuki apparently made a bet with his old pal Toyonoshima that if the komusubi can pull out his first yusho this basho, he will have a 90% off sale for a week at his new restaurant. Basically, it means that he is betting on sumo. Which is why he got kicked out of sumo. Normally I would say fat chance, bud, but if the sanyaku perform like they did last basho and Toyo keeps his head in the game, kotomitsuki might be in trouble. Toyonoshima, for his part, said that “Kotomitsuki is just saying this because he thinks I’m going to lose, but I’ll make sure he has to put on that sale as promised.”
Wayyy down in the lower ranks, the 9-0 Egyptian rikishi Oosunaarashi is getting a lot of attention as he starts off at Jonidan 8 in Nagoya. While many people are wondering just how far the 20 year old Boody can go in the sport, he is getting special attention this basho because he is choosing to participate in the ritual fasting of Ramadan because of his Muslim faith. According to the rules of Ramadan, he is forbidden from eating or drinking anything after sunrise and before sundown (even water) until July 20th. He has said multiple times that he doesn’t think it will be that big of an issue and will make every effort to keep himself full and hydrated during nighttime hours. “I’ve done bodybulding in Egypt during Ramadan before, so I am confident it won’t be a problem. I am still going to try to achieve my goal of winning the Jonidan yusho.”