All eyes will be on Kisenosato as he makes his debut as the newest Yokozuna. Kisenosato is one of the greatest ozeki of all time. His run of 31 consecutive tournaments at the rank, averaging 10.7 wins per tournament, is a testament to his longevity and his consistency. The answer to the question, “Why hasn’t he won or been promoted before?” needs a one word answer: “Hakuho.” As Bruce wrote in “Haru Story 1,” this new yokozuna chapter of his career is the top question going forward.
However, talk will quickly turn to the diminished ozeki ranks. The door is wide open for a young up-and-comer to challenge for promotion. So, I ask of our readership, “Who will be the next Ozeki?” I’m not asking who will make the “next ozeki run” but who will actually be the next wrestler to secure a promotion? It will happen this year(…or else I will be in a lot of pain).
The leading candidates are in the poll below. Takayasu is arguably already on an ozeki run. We will need to see him carry this through summer. He leads the group of youngsters, including Mitakeumi & Shodai. He’s the most experienced of the three and has been pretty consistently in the top portion of the makuuchi for the past few years. Mitakeumi and Shodai have both made their starts in professional sumo a full 10 years after Takayasu but their rises have been meteoric. Can one of them make a quick Terunofuji-like charge for a championship?
Tamawashi’s chances likely put him at the top of the “veterans,” which I’m including Sokokurai and Kotoshogiku (whose path is obviously easiest). Tamawashi’s been around for ages. He’s as old as Sokokurai and Kotoshogiku, all born in 1984 and all three having been in sumo for more than a decade, but as recently as May 2013 he was down in Juryo. He’s been a solid wrestler but unassuming. Has he just been biding his time?
Alright, enough with me asking the questions. Here’s the one I hope you all will answer: