The tournament in Fukuoka from Sunday 13 to Sunday 27 November 2022
The final tournament of the year is fast approaching and it should be exciting to follow for several reasons.
First and foremost, Tamawashi’s previous performance was incredible. Already victorious in 2019, this veteran who will be 38 in November has become the oldest wrestler to rise through the sanyaku ranks for 40 years. His return as komusubi proves his determination to achieve new goals.
At the top of the pyramid is the title of yokozuna — once earned, it lasts for life. To achieve this supreme rank you already need to be an ozeki, then win two consecutive tournaments. Unlike other titles a yokozuna cannot lose his title even if he is defeated. However, if his defeats continue he will have to resign to preserve his dignity.
The rank of ozeki comes just below that of yokozuna. Appointed at a full extraordinary meeting, he needs to have accumulated 33 victories during the previous three tournaments to be worthy of the title. If his defeats outnumber his wins he does not lose his rank immediately but becomes kadoban. To earn back his titlethe ozeki must score eight wins at the following tournament.
As for the ôzeki, though Takakeisho managed to complete the fortnight with a respectable score of 10-5, the future is far more uncertain for his companion Shodai who finds himself with the sword of Damocles hanging over him for the fifth time in his career. Securing a majority of victories will be the minimum required to maintain his prestigious rank.
Triple winner Mitakeumi will be under even greater pressure than Shodai if he if he wants to regain his rank of ôzeki. In fact, after underperforming last September the current sekiwake will need at least ten wins to secure his return. A difficult challenge, but not impossible.
The event will take place probably without yokozuna Terunofuji who recently underwent knee surgery. His absence should increase expectations of the two ôzeki in the competition. With so much at stake to spice up the tournament in Fukuoka, the championship should offer us some great sumo moments!
To ensure you miss none of the action, visit the NHK WORLD-JAPAN website from 13 November, which will broadcast edited highlights.
GRAND SUMO on NHK WORLD-JAPAN
The tournament in Fukuoka Sunday 13 to Sunday 27 November 2022