OSAKA - The Japan Sumo Association on Wednesday formally promoted Mongolian-born ozeki Kakuryu to sumo’s highest rank in a unanimous vote to become the 71st yokozuna.
His promotion was confirmed after the rankings for the summer basho in May were decided followed by a meeting of the JSA’s executive board. Kakuryu, whose birth name is Mangaljalav Anand, is the first to attain the top rank since Harumafuji did so at the 2012 Autumn basho.
“I am determined to focus all my efforts to train even harder and be certain to give all my strength not to defile the yokozuna name,” Kakuryu said at the ceremony held at Hoganji Temple in Osaka.
The 28-year-old Kakuryu posted a 14-1 record in his second consecutive tournament en route to winning his first career title at the recently concluded Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka. He received the green light for yokozuna promotion after a meeting of the JSA’s Yokozuna Deliberation Council on Monday.
“I am really determined that I have to give my utmost. I have to become a wrestler who is respected,” he added.
His stablemaster Izutsu said, “It’s great that he made it this far. As a yokozuna I want him to wrestle as long as he possibly can.”
Kakuryu is the sixth foreign-born wrestler to be promoted to sumo’s highest rank. Three Mongolian-born rikishi, including Hakuho and Harumafuji, currently sit at the top rank.