The Juryo promotions have been announced. We have two returnees: Tokushoryu, after a single basho in Makushita, and Tomokaze, who makes his long-awaited sekitori return after a long road back from a horrific leg injury in Kyushu 2019, just when he seemed to be on the cusp of top-division stardom.
And two rikishi make their salaried debuts. The first is 29-year-old Tamashoho, one of Tamawashi’s few stablemates as well as his brother-in-law. After 11 years in professional sumo, just making it to Juryo is a major career achievement for him.
Much more is expected of the other debutant, 19-year old Ochiai. The amateur star makes history by becoming the first modern rikishi to make it to Juryo after a single basho. He debuted at Ms15TD, and there was much debate regarding whether even a 7-0 record at that rank would be enough for promotion. Ochiai did his part by going undefeated to take the Makushita yusho, and looked dominant doing so. Now the banzuke committee has confirmed that Ms15TD is indeed within the extended promotion zone, and we can conclude that the reason Shimoda, the only previous man to go 7-0 at that rank, wasn’t promoted back in 2006 was lack of space. Tachiai looks forward to following Ochiai’s sekitori career with great interest.
The corresponding demotions are not announced, but looking at the records in Juryo, we can infer that in addition to the slot opened up by Okinoumi’s intai, three spots are being made available by dropping J13w Kaisho, J11e Chiyosakae, and J10w Terutsuyoshi, all 5-10, to the third division. The former two had their fates sealed before the final day, while Terutsuyoshi lost an exchange bout to Tamashoho, completing his fall from Makuuchi in November to Makushita in March. Tachiai wishes salt bae a speedy return to good health and the sekitori ranks, where his talent and fighting spirit belong.