Yokozuna Terunofuji is the baddest man in sumo. He’ll look to prove that again this month. (Hito (@kimi_a1124) Creative Commons)

Grand Sumo: March Tournament Preview and Broadcast Details

Sumo returns this month!

Grand Sumo’s second tournament of 2024, the Haru Basho (or Spring Tournament), begins this Sunday night, Mar. 10, in Osaka, Japan. The event, like all Grand Sumo tournaments, will run for the following 15 days. 

Each Grand Sumo basho features all of Japan’s senior sumo wrestlers competing every day, in their respective divisions, over a 15-day stretch. The makuuchi (top division) is home to the best in the sport. One of those makuuchi wrestlers will lift a top division championship (known as The Emperor’s Cup) on the final day of the tournament.

In sumo a ranking sheet, known as the banzuke, is published by the Japan Sumo Association ahead of each tournament. That ranking sheet determines what divisions each rikishi (wrestler) competes in and what their ranking is for the tournament. Your ranking is determined by your win-loss record in the previous tournament.


At the top of the banzuke are the san’yaku, an elite core of wrestlers who have earned elite rankings due to long stretches of winning records.

The highest rank in sumo is yokozuna, a rank that only 73 men have held during the 400 recorded years of this banzuke system. There is currently one yokozuna in the sport, Terunofuji (who is coming off a title win in January). Directly below him are four men ranked as ozeki, all of whom need to win two championships in a row to be considered for promotion to yokozuna. Those four men are Kirishima, Hoshoryu, Kotonowaka and Takakeisho.

The entire top division banzuke can be viewed below:

For a deeper breakdown on sumo’s banzuke system, check out this video from the excellent Sumostew:

Terunofuji has looked awesome so far this year

Terunofuji won Grand Sumo’s first tournament of the year in January with a 13-2 record and a play-off win over Kotonowaka on the final day of the tournament. You can view Terunofuji’s winning tournament effort below.


His victory at the Hatsu Basho (New Year tournament) was the 32-year-old Mongolian’s 9th top division title. In winning that title he crushed the competition. Among those crushed opponents was Kirishima (who needed to win in January to earn promotion to yokozuna). 

Terunofuji has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and he missed most of last year due to double knee surgeries. With the wear and tear on his knees growing by the day, it’s likely that Terunofuji retires before the year is out. However, he’s stated that his main goal is to win double digit championships before that happens.

Terunofuji is a massive favourite to win the March tournament (thanks mostly to how he has dominated the other top ranked wrestlers in the sport). Should he lift the cup on March 24, it’s likely he will quickly announce his retirement.

When Terunofuji leaves the dohyo (sumo ring), the next generation of sumo wrestlers will finally have a shot at winning enough titles to take his place as yokozuna. However, some will think they might be able to catch the wounded giant here in March and claim the next cup for themselves.

How to watch the Haru Basho

The top division matches will take place during primetime in Japan, which means folks on the US east coast will need to stay up to around 3 a.m. for them.

The event is carried live on the Abema app. Abema costs around $8 a month. Abema is entirely in Japanese with no English translation. The days’ top division matches will also be shared on the YouTube channel NHK World on a 24 hour delay. 

Many Twitch streamers and YouTubers stream sumo live and on demand (DM me on Substack if you’d like more information regarding that).

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