NAGOYA – Bulgarian Kotooshu will make his maiden voyage in a bid for promotion to yokozuna as the top-ranked ozeki as the Japan Sumo Association on Monday released the rankings for the upcoming Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
Kotooshu, who posted an impressive 14-1 record at the summer meet in May en route to becoming the first European wrestler to capture an Emperor’s Cup, will sit in the prestigious east slot for the July 13-27 tourney at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
Mongolian yokozuna pair Asashoryu and Hakuho, who were the center of controversy when they nearly came to fisticuffs after their bout on the final day of the summer basho, both finished last time out with subpar marks of 11-4 and will be hoping for redemption.
Asashoryu is seeking his 23rd Emperor’s Cup and first in two meets from the east position for the second straight meet. In Nagoya, he will hold the yokozuna rank for the 33rd tournament — eighth on the all-time list.
Hakuho is on the west side and is vying for his first championship victory since beating Asashoryu on the last day of the New Year tournament.
At the ozeki rank, Chiyotaikai will have to dig himself out of another hole as he is in danger of relegation for a record 12th time.
Kotomitsuki and Kaio both barely passed the grade with 8-7 marks at the Tokyo meet in May.
Mongolian Ama, who is at sumo’s third-highest rank of sekiwake for the fourth meet in a row, is still looking to get his promotion bid under way after finishing at 9-6 last time out.