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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sumo set to return in Nagoya

Kyodo

A postwar record of 13 wrestlers were promoted to the second-tier juryo division and fan-favorite Takamisakari retained his place in the top makuuchi class for the upcoming Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament despite posting a losing record last time out.

The Japan Sumo Association on Monday released the banzuke rankings for the July 10-24 basho, the first regular tourney to be held since a match-fixing scandal brought sumo to its knees.

The biggest scandal in the history of the ancient sport caused the cancellation of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in March.

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in May was replaced by a "Technical Examination Tournament," in which spectators were admitted for free.

No cash prizes were offered to wrestlers, but the bout results stood toward drafting the rankings for the upcoming Nagoya basho.

Takamisakari and Kimurayama both posted 7-8 records in May and former makuuchi wrestler Kakizoe was among nine losing wrestlers who moved up from makushita to juryo.

The move came after 17 wrestlers were banished from the sport last month for their involvement in the bout-rigging scheme that rocked the national sport to its core when it came to light in February. No wrestlers have been demoted from makuuchi or juryo.

Hakuho will again be the overwhelming makuuchi favorite when normal service resumes on the raised ring.

Hakuho, the lone yokozuna, won the test meet with a 13-2 record, tying former yokozuna Asashoryu's all-time record with seven consecutive titles.

Hakuho will be aiming to go one better than countryman Asashoryu by claiming a record eighth consecutive Emperor's Cup and 20th overall. Elsewhere, Kaio will match former ozeki rival Chiyotaikai's record of 65 tournament appearances.



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