Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho will be looking to become only the third wrestler in sumo history to post 1,000 career wins when the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament gets under way next month.
Hakuho, who retained his east yokozuna slot on Monday when the Japan Sumo Association released the rankings for the July 10-24 meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, is the favorite to take the title after winning the Summer meet in May with a perfect 15-0 record.
Already sumo’s most successful wrestler with 37 Emperor’s Cups, Hakuho needs 13 victories to reach the 1,000-win milestone, while seven will see the 31-year-old from Ulan Bator become the first to post 900 in sumo’s elite makuuchi division.
Hakuho clinched his second straight championship at the Summer Basho and heads into the Nagoya meet on a 29-match unbeaten streak, having not lost since the opening day of the Spring tourney in March.
Yokozuna Kakuryu is on the west side, while the other Mongolian yokozuna, Harumafuji, sits on the east.
At ozeki, Kisenosato, who has posted 13-2 records in the last two tournaments, will be gunning for promotion to yokozuna, but will likely need to win an elusive first title to be considered for a move up to sumo’s top rank.
Mongolian giant Terunofuji, who has been hampered by problems in both knees, will be fighting with his rank on the line as a kadoban ozeki in Nagoya. He started with two wins at the summer meet before losing 13 straight.
Brazilian grappler Kaisei and Georgian born Tochinoshin will both be wrestling at sumo’s third-highest rank of sekiwake for the first time.
Kitaharima is the only makuuchi-division newcomer, while Chiyonokuni, Toyohibiki, Kagayaki, Sadanofuji and Arawashi all return to the top flight.