The Japanese Sumo Organization released their latest banzuke (ranking document) yesterday for the upcoming haru basho (Spring Tournament) that begins on March 12. This document takes into account the performances from the hatsu basho (New Year Tournament) which was won by ozeki Takakeisho in January.
The banzuke tells us what we expected, that Takakeisho’s yusho (championship victory) in January was not impressive enough for him to get promoted to yokuzuna. However, if he wins this next tournament, it will be hard to deny him his life’s goal.
With no sekiwake ranked wrestlers meeting the requirements for ozeki promotion that means we are still left with Terunofuji serving double-duty as yokuzuna and ozeki.
Wakatakakage and Hoshoryu did enough last time out to keep their sekiwake ranks, but neither will be able to reach 33 wins over three straight tournaments, which is needed for ozeki promotion, in March.
All other san’yaku (upper ranked) wrestlers were demoted for losing records. The wrestler who fell furthest was Takayasu, who moved from sekiwake to maegashira 7. That was due to an injury forced 1-5-9 record last month.
The popular Tobizaru and the recent Fuji TV tournament winner Daieisho benefit from those demotions, both of whom move up to komusubi. This is Tobizaru’s second appearance in the upper rankings. For Daieisho this is an immediate return to the upper rankings, after he was previously demoted in January.
January tournament runner-up, and Fighting Spirit award winner, Kotoshoho makes the biggest leap in the rankings, going from maegashira 13 to 5.
Three wrestlers were relegated from the makuuchi (top division): Ichinojo, Tochinoshin and Chiyomaru. Ichinojo was relegated because of his suspension enforced 0-0-15 record in the past tournament. Former ozeki Tochinoshin goes down after a 2-3-10 record (having injured his shoulder on day 5 last month). Tochinoshin turns 36 this year. It’s possible that the popular Georgian wrestler, who was last in the second division in 2014 (again because of injury), may decide to call it a day. The always meme-able Chiyomaru is relegated after a paltry 4-11 record.
This means we have three promotions to makuuchi. They are Hokuseiho, Kinbozan and Bushozan. This is will mark all three’s first appearances in the top division. Kinbozan will also be the first wrestler from Kazakhstan to compete in he makuuchi.
Asanoyama does not get recalled to the top division, despite winning the juryo (second division) with a 14-1 record. The former ozeki will need to spend at least another tournament in the lower division before he can return to where he was before scandals and a year-long suspension busted him down to sumo’s fourth tier.
Also of note, Hakuho’s teenage prodigy Ochiai will be competing in the second division in March after spectacularly going undefeated and winning the makushita (third division) in his first ever senior tournament.
|Wakatakakage (JPN)||SEKIWAKE||Hoshoryu (MON)|
|Wakamotoharu (JPN)||KOMUSUBI||Kotonowaka (JPN)|
|Daieisho (JPN)||KOMUSUBI||Tobizaru (JPN)|
|Tamawashi (MON)||#1||Shodai (JPN)|
|Abi (JPN)||#2||Ryuden (JPN)|
|Mitakeumi (JPN)||#3||Nishikifuji (JPN)|
|Onosho (JPN)||#4||Meisei (JPN)|
|Kotoshoho (JPN)||#5||Midorifuji (JPN)|
|Endo (JPN)||#6||Sadanoumi (JPN)|
|Hokutofuji (JPN)||#7||Takayasu (JPN)|
|Ichiyamamoto (JPN)||#8||Ura (JPN)|
|Aoiyama (BUL)||#9||Hiradoumi (JPN)|
|Myogiryu (JPN)||#10||Nishikigi (JPN)|
|Azumaryu (MON)||#11||Takanosho (JPN)|
|Kagayaki (JPN)||#12||Takarafuji (JPN)|
|Daishoho (MON)||#13||Kotoeko (JPN)|
|Kinbozan (KAZ)||#14||Bushozan (JPN)|
|Hokuseiho (JPN)||#15||Oho (JPN)|
|Chiyoshoma (MON)||#16||Tsurugisho (JPN)|
About the author: Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. (full bio)