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Heading into the Spring Basho, Terunofuji Has His Eye on the Prize

The lone yokozuna will be bidding for his 10th Emperor's Cup at the Spring Basho, but he will have to contend with new ozeki Kotonowaka.



Spring Basho
Yokozuna Terunofuji participates in a dedication ceremony at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka on March 2, 2024. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Heading into the Spring Basho, Terunofuji Has His Eye on the Prize

Lone grand champion Terunofuji will be determined to win a coveted 10th elite-level championship title when the Spring Basho kicks off in Osaka on Sunday, March 10.

The 32-year-old Terunofuji tops the rankings for the March 10-24 tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Terunofuji captured his ninth Emperor's Cup in the January tournament when he went an impressive 13-2 and defeated then-sekiwake Kotonowaka in a playoff.

The Mongolian grappler has made no secret of his desire to win 10 championships in the elite makuuchi division, which would cement his place as a highly regarded yokozuna.

Spring Basho
Terunofuji (right) and Shodai participate in a training session on March 6 at Tokitsukaze stable in Osaka. (©SANKEI)

Given his history of injuries, which forced him to sit out all but one tournament in 2023, Terunofuji will be eager to secure his 10th Emperor's Cup sooner rather than later.

"I will compete with all my strength each day," Terunofuji said at a press conference ahead of the 15-day basho. 


He added, "I want to do my best one more time as I try to win back-to-back championships."

Spring Basho
Newly promoted ozeki Kotonowaka holds the banzuke, the chart showing the official rankings for the Spring Basho, on February 26. (KYODO)

Kotonowaka to Wrestle as an Ozeki for the First Time

The other big storyline of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament will be the ozeki debut of Kotonowaka, the son of former sekiwake Kotonowaka Terumasa and grandson of former yokozuna Kotozakura.

Kotonowaka's 33 wins in his previous three tournaments proved he was worthy of promotion to sumo's second-highest rank where he will join Takakeisho and Mongolians Hoshoryu and Kirishima.

"I will do my best to fight a brand of sumo that will make my supporters happy," said Kotonowaka, a 26-year-old native of Chiba Prefecture.

Hoshoryu and Kirishima will both be strong title contenders after solid performances in the previous tournament in January. 

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.


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