Harumafuji on east side for yokozuna challenge


After his pristine campaign in Nagoya, ozeki Harumafuji finds himself on the prestigious east position for the upcoming Autumn Sumo Grand Tournament with the release Monday of the sumo rankings by the Japan Sumo Association.

The 28-year-old Mongolian, who won all 15 bouts to capture his third career title at the Nagoya basho in July, will get his chance to make it third time lucky in a bid for promotion to sumo’s highest rank of yokozuna when the Sept. 9-23 meet gets under way at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Lone yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, will appear in his 15th tournament as the sole yokozuna and will surpass Haguroyama on the all-time list, falling in at 10th for holding the top rank for 31 tournaments.

Kotoshogiku and Kotooshu will both also take slots on the east wing with Kotooshu moving ahead of Konishiki to sit alone in fifth on the all-time list for the less-than-welcome honor of remaining at ozeki for 40 tournaments.

The trio of Kisenosato, Baruto and Kakuryu fill out ozeki spots in the west wing.

Myogiryu — the first graduate of his alma mater Nippon Sport Science University to make sumo’s third-highest rank of sekiwake — gets east dibs, while Goeido, who finished with a 7-7 mark with one rest day after pulling out on the 14th day in Nagoya, has been relegated to the west.

Aoiyama fills the east komusubi spot, becoming only the second Bulgarian after Kotooshu to break into the “sanyaku,” or the three ranks below yokozuna. Georgian-born Tochinoshin returns to the west komusubi slot for the first time in seven meets.

Asahisho will be the only newly promoted wrestler to the elite makuuchi class. Asasekiryu, Fujiazuma, and Tenkaiho are back in the top class after dropping down to the lower juryo tier for one tournament, and Kimurayama has returned after four meets in juryo.