Yokozuna Hakuho, who is aiming to become the only man to ever win seven consecutive titles for the second time, retained his prestigious position on the east wing for the eighth tournament in a row with the release of the new sumo rankings by the Japan Sumo Association on Monday.
Hakuho, who finished with a 14-1 mark at the Spring basho in March, remains at the throne for the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament kicking off May 10 at Ryogoku Kokugikan, where he will be a favorite to extend his all-time record to 35 career championships.
Fellow yokozuna Harumafuji and Kakuryu, who missed the entire tournament in March due to a left-shoulder injury, will sit on the west and east wings, respectively.
While there were no new promotions to the sanyaku ranks, Terunofuji, who contended for the title last time out en route to 13 wins, takes the east sekiwake spot for the second tournament in a row. He could possibly gain a promotion to ozeki, depending on his performance at the 15-day meet.
Myogiryu has returned to the sekiwake rank on the west wing after four tournaments. Tochiozan will sit on east wing at komusubi while Ichinojo, who has returned to the sanyaku ranks after two meets, fills his hefty girth out on the west wing at komusubi.
Ozeki Kisenosato will sit on the east wing for the third straight tournament, while Kotoshogiku and Goeido are on the west. The ever popular Endo, who pulled out of the last meet after suffering ligament damage in his left knee, has dropped down to No. 9 maegashira.
Forty-year-old Kyokutenho, who is a No. 14 maegashira on the west wing, will be competing in his 98th tournament in the elite makuuchi division. The record places him alone in second ahead of Takamiyama on the all-time list and is the longest for a foreign-born rikishi to remain in sumo’s top flight.
Kakuryu eyes return
Yokozuna Kakuryu said Monday that he expects to return from a left shoulder injury at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament next month.
Kakuryu hurt his shoulder during the year’s first meet in January and missed all of the spring basho — the first time he’s had to withdraw since being promoted to sumo’s highest rank.
He is currently receiving two injections a week to repair the rotator cuff in the shoulder, and has not wrestled since the start of the season.
But the Mongolian said his shoulder is improving at a rate which he believes will have him ready for the May 10-24 tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
“My shoulder is getting better by the day,” the second-year yokozuna said. “I’m working on the premise that I will return (next month).
“It’s been nothing short of frustrating. I have a lot of mixed emotions. I like to think of this as a learning experience and think positive from here on forward.”