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Nagoya Basho (July Sumo Tournament) Preview

The big news going into the summer sumo tournament is that of the potential yokozuna promotion of Kisenosato. The ozeki finished last tournament runner-up with a 13-2 record and there are already rumblings of his promotion to the sport's highest rank.

Although it is usually tradition for an ozeki to have to win two straight tournaments, the Yokozuna Deliberation Council seems to have taken a liking to Kisenosato and has said that even if he doesn't win the tournament out right, promotion may still be possible.

At the moment there are already two yokozuna, Hakuho, who has held the rank since 2007 and Harumafuji, who gained promotion at the end of last year. If Kisenosato does in fact get the promotion he would be the sport's first Japanese yokozuna since the retirement of Takanohana in 2003.

Four rikishi (wrestlers) remain on the banzuke (rankings) at the sport's second highest rank of ozeki at the moment. Kisenosato, Kakuryu, Kotooshu and Kotoshogiku. Kotooshu just barely made his kachi-koshi (eight wins) last tournament, avoiding demotion from the rank on the final day in a match against Kakuryu. The other ozeki remain average, at best.

Goeido returns to the sekiwake rank for the eighth straight tournament, still having trouble making a legitimate run at ozeki. To make the rank he needs to acquire at least 33 wins over the course of three consecutive tournaments. However, he has been unable to do so since gaining the rank over a year ago. He's lucky to even still be holding the rank, failing to get his necessary eight victories to maintain it, finishing at 7-8 last tournament, but do to the vast majority of wrestlers who also were make-koshi (having a losing record) in the ranks below him, he stands his ground.

Former ozeki Baruto again finds himself sliding down in ranking, this time all the way down to M6, his lowest rank since March 2008. The big Estonian continues to be plagued with injuries and at this point many people are speculating that retirement may not be too far in the future.

Making their top division debuts are Tokushoryu from the Kitanoumi stable. He joins stablemates Kitataiki and Gagamaru in the makuuchi division. Also debuting is Kotoyuki, who won the juryo division championship last time with a record of 13-2. He debuts at M12.

Egyptian sensation Osunaarashi makes his juryo debut after taking the makushita division title with a perfect 7-0 record. Many eyes will be on him in July as he begins to compete with sumo's top athletes in only his second year in the sport.

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