The New Year the paid ranks have swelled by 4 positions, 2 in Makuuchi and 2 in Juryo, and this means that even more Sumotori get to step out from behind the curtain into the Sekitori world. This is good news for the majority of our returning and first-time Sekitori, since few, if any, Juryo wrestlers had poor records on the lower half of the Banzuke to warrant demotion. But with the departure of Musashimaru from sanyakua and Aogiyama from Juryo, we have a half dozen men making the move into the 2nd division this Basho.
Ms5e Roho (5-2) is making his debut in front of the curtain, making his Oyakata extremely happy, “Here I was able to give a good bon voyage present to Otake Beya. It really leaves me speechless." Roho becomes the first Sekitori for Taiho Beya in 32 years! Congratulations Taiho Oyakata! Roho A.K.A. Soslan Borazow only joined sumo with his younger brother, Batraz Borazow, in May 2002. Batraz’s shikona is Hakurozan from Hatachiyama Beya.
Ms9e Hakuho (6-1) is from Miyagino Beya. He will keep his Senpai, Kobo, company in Juryo this January.
Ms16e Daimanazuru (7-0) of Asahiyama Beya took the Makushita Yusho in Fukuoka. If he had been one rank further up the banzuke, Ms15, he would have been guranteed his promotion to Juryo, but luckily with the increase from 66 to 70 Sekitori, along with some wrestlers retiring, he get to wear the silk Mawashi. Fans who have followed him closely, may recall his previous shikona, Futasewaka.
We move onto our the returnees this Basho, starting with Ms3e Wakatenro (5-2). Looking back through 2002, this guy has the makings for an elevator Sumotori/Sekitori. He is a big boy from Magaki-beya, 160 kg and 184 cm, so he has the bulk to be with the big boys, let’s see if he can spend all of 2003 in the paid ranks.
Ms3w Gokenzan (4-3) is from Futagoyama Beya, a stable that is a shadow of its formal self, with the departure of Akinoshima, Taka/Waka brothers, Takatoriki, etc., another Sekitori is a welcomed sight for Futagoyama Oyakata. Here is another big boy, close to 200 kg and 178 cm, but an old boy, having entered sumo only one year after the famous Takanohana. At 30-years-old, it is time to stay a Sekitori for the duration of his career, if possible.
Ms6e Tochifudo (5-2) rounds out our group stepping out from behind the curtain. He debuted last year September, hailing from Kasugano Beya.
It is not clear at the time this article is being written, but we may not have any Sekitori trading in their silk belts for cotton ones. But if anyone is going to dropped down to the 3rd division, it will be J10 Senshuyama (4-11) and J10 Dewanofuji (4-11).
November 25, 2003