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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Roho moves up rankings for summer basho

Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu continues to stamp his authority as the lone yokozuna and Russian wrestler Roho jumped up to a career high in the rankings for the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament issued by the Japan Sumo Association on Monday.

There were no major surprises in the rankings involving leading wrestlers, including Asashoryu, who goes into the 15-day meet beginning May 8 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan bidding for a fourth straight Emperor's Cup and 12th overall of his career after his triumph in March in Osaka.

Roho climbed up to top maegashira, the fifth highest rank in the sport, after finishing the spring tournament with an impressive 11-4 record as a No. 6 maegashira. He is ranked third highest, after Asashoryu and sekiwake Hakuho, among an increasing number of foreign wrestlers in the top-tier makuuchi division.

Veteran ozeki Kaio was awarded the prestigious east spot after shrugging off relegation worries with 10 wins in March.

Tochiazuma found himself on the west side after matching Kaio with a 10-5 record, as did fellow ozeki Chiyotaikai, who posted a losing record of 6-9 in the east spot and now needs at least eight wins to avoid relegation.

The upcoming tournament will see Chiyotaikai make his 37th appearance in sumo's second-highest rank, the fourth on the all-time list of longevity for ozeki wrestlers.

Up-and-coming Mongolian Hakuho retained his place in the third highest position of sekiwake after the 20-year-old narrowly secured a winning record at 8-7 by winning four straight bouts in as many days down the final stretch.

Tosanoumi, a 33-year-old veteran who got 10 wins, was promoted back and wrestles as a sekiwake for the first time in eight tournaments. At one rank below, Kotomitsuki and Wakanosato returned to komusubi in reward for their strong performances in March.

In the rank-and-file maegashira ranks, Kokkai, who hailed from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, moved up four places to the No. 2 spot but Bulgarian Kotooshu slipped to No. 5 after a lackluster 4-11 record as a komusubi the last time out.

At the bottom end of the makuuchi division, Katayama makes his debut in the top flight as a No. 16 maegashira.



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