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Friday, April 25, 2008

Foreign sumo numbers soar

Kyodo News

Georgian Tochinoshin and Mongolia's Hakuba became the latest foreign wrestlers to join sumo's elite makuuchi division as the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday released the rankings for the upcoming Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Tochinoshin posted a 9-6 record and Hakuba went 8-7 in the second-tier juryo division at the spring meet last month to win promotion and bring the number of foreign-born grapplers in the top flight to 16, the most in sumo history.

Tochinoshin, the second wrestler from the former Soviet republic of Georgia in the makuuchi division after Kokkai, will be wrestling as a No. 14 maegashira, while Hakuba is ranked 16th at the May 11-25 tourney at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

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