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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ozeki Harumafuji eyes promotion

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Ozeki Harumafuji, who captured his first career title at the summer meet, will sit on the prestigious east position as the Japan Sumo Association on Monday released the new rankings for the upcoming Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Gunning for the top: Ozeki Harumafuji (left) is aiming to earn a promotion to yokozuna at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament which begins on July 12. KYODO PHOTO

Harumafuji, the Mongolian wrestler previously known as Ama, will get his shot at glory in a bid for promotion to yokozuna at the July 12-26 meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium after beating Hakuho in a playoff to win the summer basho in May.

Hakuho, who finished with a 14-1 mark along with Harumafuji, returns to the east side for the second consecutive tournament, while fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu takes up the west slot again after a sub-par 12-3 performance in May.

For the first time in four meets there will be no wrestlers from the ozeki rank facing demotion.

Kisenosato, who impressed with 13 wins last time out, has regained his sekiwake status, sumo's third-highest rank, for the first time in two meets. The Japanese hopeful turns 23 on July 3.

Mongolian Kakuryu, who won his second consecutive Technique Prize at the summer basho, has been promoted to sekiwake after a colorful debut at komusubi in May.

Mongolian Kyokutenho will occupy the east komusubi slot, gaining promotion into sumo's "sanyaku," or three ranks below yokozuna, for the 10th time in his career. Kotoshogiku heads up the west.

Tosayutaka, Mongolian Mokonami and Wakakoyu make their debut into the elite makuuchi division in the lower echelons.

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