The banzuke for January’s tournament has been released. The top storyline will be Hakuho and his desire to break Taiho’s record 32 tournament victories. Will he do it?
Notably, two ozeki (Kotoshogiku and Goeido) are kadoban and face demotion if they do not finish with winning records. Kotoshogiku has been in this position before and each time seems to come roaring back with great performances. He came back from a disasterous May tournament to secure second place with a 12-3 record in July, one win behind Hakuho and tied with Goeido. This is Goeido’s first time facing demotion, however. I will be surprised if both survive demotion this time.
Should Ichinojo put up 10 or 12 wins he could be Ozeki by summer. Aoiyama joins the Mongolian for their second tournament at Sekiwake. Takayasu and Tochiozan are the new komusubi after their strong November showings: Takayasu, with two gold stars and 10 wins and Tochiozan, with one gold star and a winning record at top Maegashira.
November’s komusubi, Ikioi dropped to Maegashira #2 and Takekaze plummetted to Maegashira #9. Endo’s back in the upper ranks of the maegashira, paired with Aminishiki at Maegashira #3. Tochinoshin’s third tournament back in the makuuchi sees him back at top Maegashira. I hope to see Oosunaarashi back at full strength. He should dominate the lower ranks, if healthy.