In September, Terunofuji was the lone yokozuna in action. Now he's all alone at the top of the rankings, published Monday by the Japan Sumo Association.

With the retirement of record 45-time champion Hakuho after September's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, Terunofuji is now the sport's lone grand champion when the 15-day Kyushu Grand Sumo Association gets underway at Fukuoka Kokusai Center starting on Nov. 14.

The 29-year-old Terunofuji won his debut tourney at the sport's highest rank and will now shoulder alone the extreme expectations placed on yokozuna.

Screenshot shows sumo grand champion Terunofuji attending an online press conference on Nov. 1, 2021, ahead of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament starting on Nov. 14. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
New yokozuna Terunofuji receives the championship trophy from Hakkaku, head of the Japan Sumo Association, after winning the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sept. 26, 2021. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The ozeki and sekiwake ranks remain unchanged from September, when the two ozeki, Shodai and Takakeisho, each went 8-7, and the two sekiwake, Mitakeumi and Meisei, also posted winning records. The only change among the three "sanyaku" ranks below yokozuna comes at komusubi.

Mongolian Ichinojo is on the east after going 8-7 in his September sanyaku comeback and is joined on the west by compatriot Kiribayama.

The 25-year-old Kiribayama becomes the first Mongolian to debut in the sanyaku since Tamawashi and Terunofuji took that step in March 2015, and the 26th foreign-born wrestler to achieve the feat.

At the other end of the makuuchi-division table, four wrestlers have been re-promoted from the second-tier juryo division, No. 15 maegashira Abi, No. 16 Akua and Sadanoumi, along with No. 17 Shohozan.

Abi is returning after a plummet down the rankings for violating coronavirus protocols, while Shohozan, at the age of 37 years and 8 months, will be the ninth oldest to regain admission to the top flight.

With no makuuchi debutants this time around, sumo will finish the year with just two wrestlers having made the jump to the top flight in 2021, the fewest since the current six-grand tournament format was adopted in 1958.

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