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Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2002
Asashoryu officially listed as ozeki
Recently promoted ozeki Asashoryu was officially listed at his new position and Takamisakari broke into the upper ranks Monday when the Japan Sumo Association released its rankings for the upcoming Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Asashoryu won approval for his promotion to ozeki in July after going 12-3 in the Nagoya tourney and joins four wrestlers on sumo's second highest rung for the 15-day meet getting under way Sept. 8 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.
In addition to becoming the first wrestler from Mongolia to reach sumo's second highest rank, Asashoryu also made the journey up the rankings in only 22 tournaments -- the fastest rise since sumo went to six basho a year in 1958.
Takamisakari, meanwhile, is listed as a komusubi after going 9-6 in Nagoya as a No. 2 maegashira.
A product of the sumo club at Nihon University, Takamisakari becomes the 29th wrestler from the collegiate ranks to wrestle in the top four ranks in professional sumo.
Yokozuna Musashimaru retains his position at the top of the east side of the rankings list while grand champion rival Takanohana is listed on the west.
Takanohana is expected to end a 15-month hiatus from the ring after missing the last seven tournaments because of torn knee ligaments suffered in the 2001 summer tourney.
At ozeki, Nagoya champion Chiyotaikai is listed on top and could earn promotion to yokozuna with another title run in Ryogoku.
Joining Chiyotaikai on the east side of the ring will be Kaio, who faces possible relegation after going 0-4 and then pulling out of the Nagoya basho, and Asashoryu.
On the west, Tochiazuma will miss the tournament after suffering a broken arm in Nagoya while Musoyama will be returning to the ring after sitting out the July meet.
Wakanosato moves into the east sekiwake position and west-side sekiwake Tosanoumi returns to sumo's third-highest rank for the first time in 18 tournaments.
At komusubi, former ozeki Takanonami joins Takamisakari after a six-month tour of the lower ranks.
Kasuganishiki (No. 10 maegashira) and Ushiomaru (No. 15) join sumo's elite makuuchi division for the first time while Gojoro, Asanowaka and Tochinohana return to the top flight after sinking into the second-tier juryo division.