The Kyokai held a board meeting on Monday to address a conflict between Ichinojo and his stable. The conflict involved allegations of Ichinojo’s excessive drinking on numerous occasions which had escalated to the point where he had assaulted Minato-oyakata’s wife and not only moved out of the stable but skipped keiko, wouldn’t eat with the stable, etc. Minato-oyakata attempted to correct Ichinojo’s behavior but the situation has become increasingly strained leading up to Ichinojo’s championship win in July, and it has continued afterwards. Over the course of the investigation, the board learned that Ichinojo had gone out in contravention of covid protocols, thus the suspension. His suspension is not as severe as Asanoyama’s and Abi’s because he had gone to restaurants instead of “cabaret” clubs, or hostess clubs and he also did not lie to the board.
Ichinojo is ranked Maegashira 7 East for the upcoming tournament but it’s not clear whether his suspension will drop him out of the top division. He will be just at the cusp of demotion so it’s conceivable that the collective performance of the four Sekiwake and four Komusubi might be the deciding factor of whether he hangs onto the bottom rung or lands at the top of Juryo. If there is a 6-man sanyaku in March, there could be 18 rungs on the Hiramaku ladder. Hidenoumi’s suspension from Maegashira 8 resulted in a fall to Juryo 2 with 17 Maegashira ranks.