Yokozuna-hopeful Kisenosato will need to win an absolute minimum of 13 matches in January to earn promotion to sumo’s highest rank.
The Japan Sumo Association’s Yokozuna Deliberation Council on Thursday explained what the ozeki will need to accomplish once the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament begins on Jan. 12. Kisenosato will need to earn his first Emperor’s Cup with a minimum of 13 victories or finish with a 14-1 with the only loss coming in the title-clinching bout.
“If he wins 14 matches, but falls in the decisive match, his promotion would be OK,” chairman Hitoshi Yamauchi indicated after the council observed training.
“A championship with 13 or more wins,” said JSA chief Kitanoumi of the quota Kisenosato will have to meet in his second bid at Yokozuna promotion.
The ozeki had his first chance at promotion to yokozuna, but slipped up at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament with a string of early defeats.
Until now, chairman Yamauchi had been in agreement with Kitanoumi about the necessity of Kisenosato’s winning a championship, but Yamauchi has softened his position slightly.
“The majority of sumo fans are eager to see a domestically produced wrestler assume his place as a yokozuna,” Yamauchi said. “Training today was productive. We want to see Kisenosato give his utmost, whatever it takes to become yokozuna.”