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Takakeisho, a first-time candidate for promotion to yokozuna, leads the three ozeki in the rankings released by the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday ahead of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, which is scheduled to take place Jan. 10 to Jan. 24.

The sport’s second-highest rank illustrates both the promise and the peril of sumo’s elite wrestlers. While Takakeisho will try to seize a second straight championship and earn promotion, his two ozeki rivals, Shodai and Asanoyama, will have somewhat more mundane goals.

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