We are less than two weeks away from the last honbasho of 2020! Taking place in Tokyo instead of the usual Fukuoka Kokusai Center, spectator capacity in the Ryogoku Kokugikan will be increased to around 5000 seats, double the previous tournament. Aside from bold moves by the sumo association, the newly released rankings chart promises 15 days of awesome match-ups. We have two Yokozuna looking to close out the year, with Kakuryu desperate for some healthy results, and Hakuho biding his time in hopes that the Tokyo Olympics will come to fruition next summer. Three Ozeki now make a stand just to the rear of yesterday’s heroes. And sanyaku/upper Maegashira is stacked with top fighters and intriguing up-and-comers alike!
Starting from the top, the Yokozuna remain on their usual sides — Hakuho in the East, Kakuryu in the West. Both have taken full advantage of a Yokozuna’s privilege to take time off without risk of demotion, however, there is mounting pressure for the Yokozuna to show up and compete. In fact, this could be Kakuryu’s last chance to prove himself before he is figuratively escorted from the dohyo for good.
With Shodai’s first top division title and promotion to Ozeki in September, a group of three young hopefuls now fill most of the November basho’s promotional brochures. Takakeisho takes the highest spot with his runner-up performance last month. Asanoyama stands in the West. And Shodai is the sole second row Ozeki.
Mitakeumi is the only wrestler to remain in sanyaku from last basho. Shodai of course vacated his Sekiwake position for the coveted Ozeki rank, and Daieisho, Okinoumi, and Endo all fell from sanyaku. This made way for Takanosho at his new highest rank (West Sekiwake), and for sanyaku returnees Takayasu and Terunofuji to fill Komusubi.
Rank-and-filers moving to their new highest rank include: last month’s newbie Hoshoryu (M13), also newbie and surprise title challenger Tobizaru (M4!), Kotoshoho (M5), Wakatakakage (M1), and Kiribayama (M1).
Tatsunami-beya’s Akua will make his first top division appearance at West Maegashira #16. He becomes the 5th wrestler from Tatsunami to make Makuuchi under the current stablemaster, former Komusubi Asahiyutaka.
Competing in the top division for the first time in almost two years will be September’s Juryo champ Chiyonokuni (M14). Joining him in his comeback will be: Kotonowaka (M14), Kotoyuki (M15), and Chiyoshoma (M16).
Several popular rikishi have descended to Juryo, including: Shohozan (J2), Ishiura (J3), Kotoshogiku (J3), Kyokutaisei (J8), and still suspended Abi (J11). Demoted from salaried status are: Daishoho, Kitaharima, and Aki’s 0-15 Juryo debutant Oki.
Tamanoi stable’s coronavirus outbreak leading up to Aki Basho forced the entire stable, including its two salaried wrestlers, Azumaryu and Fujiazuma, to sit out. It was decided promptly after the September tournament that all Tamanoi rikishi’s current ranks would be maintained despite not being able to compete. Therefore, Azumaryu and Fujiazuma will return to action at their respective ranks of West Juryo #7 and East Juryo #14.
Regaining their salaries and coming up to meet the afore mentioned wrestlers at division 2 are: the popular Ura (after 16 basho), former Komusubi Jokoryu (after 10), Takagenji, and Chiyonoumi (both after just 2 basho).
Match-ups for the first two days of the November Grand Sumo Tournament will be released on November 6th, and action begins on November 8th. Stay tuned!