• Kyodo


Ozeki Kisenosato may need to win the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in September to earn promotion to the sports’s highest rank, members of the Japan Sumo Association’s Yokozuna Deliberation Council said Monday.

A day after the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament concluded with yokozuna Harumafuji winning his eighth championship, and promotion-chaser Kisenosato finishing runner-up with 12 wins, the council convened at the JSA headquarters at Ryogoku Kokugikan. While he did not earn promotion after winning 13 bouts in each of the previous two tournaments, Kisenosato’s effort kept his bid for promotion alive.

“If he doesn’t win a championship, it will be difficult to recommend him (for promotion to yokozuna),” said council chair Hideshige Moriya.

Because of Kisenosato’s impressive results over the past three tournaments, some in attendance believe that even without winning the title he could win promotion for a strong record and quality bouts.

A basic guideline has been two consecutive tournaments with either a championship or an extremely good record. With no Japanese-born wrestler having ascended to the exalted rank of yokozuna since Wakanohana was promoted in 1998, Moriya said the fans’ wishes cannot be ignored.

“Fans are eager to see Kisenosato promoted, and we’re beginning to think that our decision does not need to be bound solely by tradition,” Moriya said.

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