Hoping his recent knee trouble is a thing of the past, yokozuna Hakuho will be gunning for his third straight championship when the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament opens on Sept. 10 at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
For the second straight meet, the 32-year-old Mongolian was named king of the sumo world’s hill on Monday, when the rankings for the September tourney were released by the Japan Sumo Association.
Hakuho owns the record for most championships with 39 and most career victories with his 1,050th win coming last month in Nagoya.
At the other end of the rankings, 23-year-old Asanoyama will make his debut in the makuuchi division wrestling as a No. 16 maegashira.
The first wrestler to debut from Toyama Prefecture since 1989, Asanoyama sealed his promotion by going 11-4 in July’s second-tier juryo division.
Unfortunately, one of the lasting images of the Nagoya Basho was the withdrawal of numerous top wrestlers, including popular Japanese yokozuna Kisenosato and his Mongolian counterpart Kakuryu.
Things are looking up, however, as Hakuho and his three yokozuna colleagues all eventually joined sumo’s summer regional tour.
Among the ozeki, relative newcomer Takayasu has pride of place despite an awkward start in sumo’s second-highest rank. Takayasu went 9-6 in his ozeki debut, but that was more than Goeido and Terunofuji could manage.
Terunofuji sat out for nine days and managed just one win, while Goeido finished 7-8.
By failing to post a winning record, both men enter next month’s battles as kadoban ozeki with their ranking on the line. Anything less than eight wins in Tokyo will see them relegated to sekiwake.
Their former comrade, Kotoshogiku, will compete as a rank-and-file maegashira in Tokyo, having failed to post winning records as a sekikwake in May or komusubi in July.