There is no such thing as the “33 wins in 3 tournaments rule! Unraveling the mystery behind the “ultra-strict” standards for ozeki promotion. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

There is no such thing as the “33 wins in 3 tournaments rule! Unraveling the mystery behind the “ultra-strict” standards for ozeki promotion.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

Three rikishi may be promoted to ozeki at the same time for the first time in sumo history–the first time in the history of sumo.

The three Sekiwake rikishi Toyoshoryu (24), Daieisho (29), and Wakamotoharu (29) all achieved double-digit wins in the last two consecutive tournaments, and the head referee Sadogatake declared that the Nagoya tournament, which opens on July 9, will be “the place for Ozeki-tori for all three.

Waka Motoharu, one of the most popular rikishi, carries the Association’s expectations.

The phrase “33 wins in 3 tournaments” is often reported in the media as a condition for promotion to ozeki. However, did you know that this “condition” is not clearly stated? A reporter from the sports department of a national newspaper confides, “Basically, it’s just a matter of ‘winning 33 wins in the first three bouts.

Basically, it is said that if a rikishi is recognized for his consistent power after three consecutive good results as a sekiwake, his promotion to ozeki will be discussed at the banzuke ranking committee. If a rikishi performs well in three consecutive tournaments as a san’yaku, he is promoted, regardless of the number of wins.

In fact, until 1975, many rikishi were promoted to the rank of ozeki with fewer than 30 wins in three consecutive bouts. Among them, Wakanohana I and Kitanofuji, both with 28 wins, and Asashio III, with 29 wins, rose to the rank of yokozuna. Even after 1975, promotion to ozeki was done with flexibility, as Masuizan, Kotokaze, and Onokuni were promoted to ozeki with 31 wins. Early promotion to ozeki is not without its advantages for rikishi, as it allows them to use their prime years as rikishi to win the ropes.

Former yokozuna Kitanoumi, who built the “Wako Era” with Wajima

However, for some reason, promotion to the rank of ozeki became more difficult after the beginning of the Heisei era.

It is said that the existence of Sohaguro, who became yokozuna without winning a single championship, and then went out of business in 1987 after a disappearance, was a distant cause. The disappearance of Futa-Haguro made it tougher to win the yokozuna title, and as if in step with that, Ozeki’s promotion became more severe. As if in step with this, promotion to ozeki also became more difficult, and both the association officials and the media began to talk about ’33 wins in 3 tournaments.

The “33 wins in 3 tournaments” is said to be only a “guideline,” so it does not necessarily mean that 33 wins are required to be promoted. In the Heisei era, Chiyodaoumi, Rarezasato, Goeido, and, in Reiwa, Asanoyama and Shodai were promoted after winning 32 matches in three tournaments.

Rarezato during his Ozeki era entering the ring.

Rarezato, who was an ozeki when he entered the ring, said, “If I can win 33 matches in three tournaments, I will be promoted without question. But even if he stops at 32 wins, there is still a good chance. In the last two tournaments, Toyoshoryu and Wakamotoharu won 21 matches and Daieisho won 22. Toyoshoryu and Wakamotoharu need only 11 wins and Daieisho 10 wins to reach 32 wins,” said a sports department reporter.

If all three are promoted at the same time for the first time in history, it will be a bright spot for the sumo world. If the three can show consistent power at the Nagoya tournament, the JSA may be able to make a decision on ozeki promotions without necessarily focusing on “33 wins in three tournaments”–that is, if the three can show consistent power.

  • PHOTO Afro

Photo Gallery3 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles