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We have the usual two weeks until the basho starts, meaning you have until March 10 to make your initial selection. If you have not been consuming sumo news, something big has happened. Hokuseiho has been forced to retire, after long-term bullying of younger rikishi has been revealed. His oyakata, Miyagino (aka GOAT Yokozuna Hakuho), has been demoted to the lowest elder rank. He would still be listed in the rankings, but Hokuseiho would not be fighting.

Yet when the Banzuke was announced, he was dropped to Juryo after withdrawing from the January tournament. That isn't the only interesting part of the Banzuke, which is listed below with Fantasy Basho rank names and the budget for Haru.


  • Kotonowaka makes his Ozeki debut, which means he is the lowest-ranked Ozeki for March. Just above him will be the longest-serving Ozeki, Takakeisho. And he is kadoban for this basho, meaning he needs 8 wins to keep the rank. We have a quartet of Ozeki for at least one tournament.

  • Four Ozeki with one Yokozuna means we have 9 Sanyaku slots. The Sekiwake are more than deserving, as Daieisho got 9 as a Sekiwake last time out and Wakamotoharu scored 10 wins as Maegashira #1. The Komusubi were a little different. No one was blasting through to Sanyaku. Abi went 8-7 from Maegashira #2 and was kind of the obvious best candidate. The next rikishi with a winning record was Nishikigi at Maegashira #5 West. So he's the other Komusubi.

  • That lack of obvious Sanyaku candidates also means that lots of people got either overpromoted or underdemoted in the upper Maegashira ranks. Asanoyama went 9-3-3 from mid-Maegashira and got to Maegashira #1. Ura, Atamifuji, and Tobizaru had their falls cushioned a little bit. Meanwhile, Meisei, Oho, Takanosho, and especially Onosato got pretty serious promotions. That will put Onosato at a career-high rank of Maegashira #5 in his second top-division basho. Expect some absolute weirdness in upper Maegashira.

  • Speaking of upper Maegashira, the joi-jin line is officially drawn at Maegashira #4 East Tobizaru. Will he face all 15 men above him? No. First he is in the same stable as Daieisho. Second, that never actually works out that way. People get injured and sometimes matchups just get moved around. Hiradoumi, Midorifuji, and, most intriguingly, Onosato could easily see a few Sanyaku wrestlers. Those will all be interesting matches.

  • At the bottom of the Banzuke, Hokuseiho, Tomokaze, Takarafuji, Boshozan and Aoiyama have all dropped out of the top division. In their stead are Nishikifuji, Kitanowaka, Roga, Daiaimami, and Takerufuji. Nishikifuji, Kitanowaka, and Roga are back after one Juryo basho since demotion. Daiamami was last here in July 2022. Takerufuji is here for the first time. He actually could make an impact, since he has a superlative lower division record.

See you all for live action on March 10th.

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