Bulgarian bruiser Kotooshu has been rewarded for his giant-killing show in Nagoya with promotion to sekiwake for the upcoming Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
The 22-year-old officially earned promotion to sumo’s third rank when the Japan Sumo Association on Monday issued the rankings for the Sept. 11-25 tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan, where he will be looking to give rampant grand champion Asashoryu another run for his money.
The baby-faced assassin went agonizingly close to setting up a championship playoff with Asashoryu at the Nagoya meet last month, only to fall to a final-day loss to Wakanosato as yokozuna Asashoryu claimed his fifth straight title.
Kotooshu beat Asashoryu and ozeki pair Tochiazuma and Kaio on the way to a 12-3 showing that earned him the Outstanding Performance Award and a bump up the rankings from komusubi.
Kotooshu’s rise to sekiwake took just 17 tournaments, the second quickest since sumo tournaments increased to six a year in 1958.
Lone yokozuna Asashoryu, meanwhile, remains atop the rankings in the prestigious East spot and the Mongolian magician will be looking to set more records as he kicks off his bid for a sixth consecutive title.
Asashoryu became the first wrestler in almost two decades to win five in a row in Nagoya and victory in Tokyo will see him become the first to make it six since then-yokozuna Taiho accomplished the feat from 1966 to 1967.
Former amateur sumo yokozuna Futeno, who was awarded the Technique Prize after a 10-5 record as a third-ranked maegashira, was promoted to sumo’s fourth rank of komusubi.
Kaio takes up the East slot for ozeki opposite Tochiazuma and troubled ozeki Chiyotaikai.
Chiyotaikai pulled out midway through the Nagoya meet after damaging ligaments in his left knee and will be looking to avoid demotion from his rank for a record eighth time.