Summer Grand Sumo Tournament champion Terunofuji was promoted to sumo’s second highest rank of ozeki on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old Mongolian’s promotion was all but sealed after he won his first Emperor’s Cup at the summer tourney in Tokyo and approved unanimously during an extraordinary session of the Japan Sumo Association board of directors earlier in the day.
Terunofuji was only wrestling as sekiwake at just his second basho after moving up to the rank in March for the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka.
“There is only one rank above this,” said Terunofuji, whose real name is Gantulga Ganerdene. “And I aspire to attain that rank and will make the effort.
“I will continue to increase my mental, technical and physical strength and further devote myself to improve.”
Terunofuji is the first in 64 years to be promoted to ozeki after spending two tournaments as a komusubi or sekiwake and the first since the season went to six meets in 1958.
Terunofuji becomes the second wrestler from the Isegahama stable to reach the ozeki rank following Harumafuji, whose breathtaking win over fellow Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho on Sunday clinched his stablemate’s championship.