Terunofuji, the lone yokozuna in the Japan Sumo Association rankings that were released Friday, will aim to win a third straight Emperor’s Cup for the first time in his career at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, which starts Jan. 9.
The 30-year-old will be competing as the sport’s only yokozuna for the second time and is coming off his first career 15-0 mark at November’s Kyushu Basho, where he won his sixth top-division championship.
Takakeisho, who won 12 bouts in November, takes the east ozeki slot with Shodai, who went 9-6 in Fukuoka, on the west.
Mitakeumi will wrestle at the third-highest rank of sekiwake for the third straight tournament after 11 wins in November, the same total that allowed Takanosho to jump back to sekiwake after three tourneys among the maegashira ranks.
Meisei drops to east komusubi after going 7-8 as a sekiwake last time out. He is joined on the west by former sekiwake Daieisho.
Two wrestlers will make their debuts in the elite makuuchi division in January — Oho, and Wakamotoharu, who have earned their first promotions from the second-tier juryo division.
Oho is the grandson of the Showa era’s (1926-1989) greatest yokozuna, Taiho, and the son of former sekiwake Takatoriki. Wakamotoharu is the older brother of dynamic No. 1 maegashira Wakatakakage. Oho takes the lowest spot in the rankings, No. 18, while Wakamotoharu wrestles at No. 15.
No. 14 Ichiyamamoto and No. 16 Tsurugisho have been re-promoted after two tournaments as juryo wrestlers.
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