The Japan Sumo Association on Wednesday formally decided to promote Mongolian wrestler Kakuryu to sumo’s second highest rank of ozeki.
Kakuryu, who nearly won the title at last week’s Spring Grand Sumo Tournament before losing to yokozuna Hakuho in a playoff, becomes the first wrestler to attain the rank since Kisenosato at the Kyushu Basho last November.
“I have given it my best shot right through to this point and will keep devoting myself to practice and wrestle in a way that will make fans say ‘I’m glad I came (to watch sumo) today,’ ” said Kakuryu.
The 26-year-old, whose real name is Mangaljalav Anand, will make his debut as ozeki at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament getting under way on May 6 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, where there will be six ozeki for the first time ever.
Kakuryu finished the Spring Basho with a 13-2 record.