• Kyodo

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Yokozuna Asashoryu, winner of the Autumn tourney, heads up the prestigious east position for the fourth consecutive meet as the Japan Sumo Association released Monday its rankings for the upcoming Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

The Mongolian grand champion who continues to draw crowds with his fiery brand of sumo will be aiming to capture his second straight Emperor’s Cup and fifth overall title when the action gets under way at Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Nov. 9.

Yokozuna Musashimaru, meanwhile, takes the west berth after missing all or part of the last six tourneys due to a lingering wrist injury and is expected to make his comeback at the 15-day meet.

Chiyotaikai occupies the east slot for the ozeki brass along with Kaio, who will need to post eight or more wins this time out to maintain his status at sumo’s second-highest rank.

Ozeki Tochiazuma and Musoyama, who will also need a winning record to keep his rank after pulling out early in the September meet with a broken elbow, take the spots on the west.

Elsewhere, sekiwake Wakanosato, who notched double digits in wins for the past two meets, earned the east berth and will aim for promotion to ozeki with a strong showing in Fukuoka.

Wakanosato has maintained his position in the top three ranks below yokozuna for the last 12 tournaments. In the west, Mongolian Kyokutenho returns to the sekiwake rank.

Crowd favorite Takamisakari takes the east berth at komusubi for the first time in seven tournaments while Iwakiyama makes a quantum leap to komusubi on the west side from fifth-ranked maegashira after compiling an 11-4 record last time out.

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