Harumafuji tops rankings for Kyushu Basho

Yokozuna Harumafuji, who won the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in September, will be the top-ranked wrestler at the Kyushu tourney getting under way on November 12th in Fukuoka, according to rankings released Monday by the Japan Sumo Association.

Up-and-coming Onosho, who upset Harumafuji, the lone yokozuna competing at the previous meet, was promoted from No. 3 maegashira to komusubi after scoring 10 wins in three straight tourneys since making it to the top makuuchi division.

Harumafuji sits atop the prestigious east side for the first time in six meets and is looking to win back-to-back championships as three other yokozuna — Hakuho, Kisenosato and Kakuryu — are expected to return to competition after sitting out the entire September tourney with injuries.

In the autumn competition, Harumafuji came from behind to force a playoff against Goeido after beating the ozeki in the last bout of regulation to put both grapplers at 11-4. The Mongolian then charged Goeido out to capture his ninth career title.

Hakuho, seeking an unprecedented 40th crown, is the top grand champion on the west side, while Kisenosato and Kakuryu take up the second yokozuna slots in east and west, respectively.

Goeido, who was denied his second title in September, is the ozeki on the east, swapping places with Takayasu on the west after the latter sat out most of the autumn tourney with a right thigh injury sustained on the second day of the 15-day event in Tokyo.

Takayasu, who was promoted to ozeki two tourneys ago, will fight as a demotion-threatened “kadoban” in the November meet at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Terunofuji, who competed as an ozeki in 14 straight meets, was demoted to sekiwake following two straight losing records, having missed good parts of the last two tournaments with injury and could manage only one win each time. He will be able to rebound to ozeki with 10 wins in Kyushu.

Veteran Aminishiki makes a comeback to the top division for the first time since the Nagoya tourney in July 2016, which he missed entirely, becoming the oldest wrestler to return to makuuchi at age 39, based on official records kept by the JSA since the 1920s.

Former ozeki Kotoshogiku was elevated back to komusubi after wrestling as a top maegashira in September and posting a 10-5 record.

Daiamami, a 24-year-old from Kagoshima Prefecture, is making his debut in the makuuchi division as a No. 14 maegashira.

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