Sekiwake Mitakeumi expressed his joy on Monday after winning his second top-division championship the previous night in a dramatic conclusion to the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
“This is the greatest. I was so happy to wake up today,” Mitakeumi said during a press conference at his Dewanoumi stable.
Mitakeumi beat komusubi Endo on the final day of the 15-day meet to set up a playoff with overnight co-leader and fellow sekiwake Takakeisho, who was also gunning for his second title while securing promotion back to sumo’s second-highest rank of ozeki.
The 26-year-old convincingly dispatched his colleague and finished the tournament with 12 wins and three losses in the absence of the two yokozuna, Hakuho and Kakuryu, who both pulled out of the meet with injuries after suffering early upsets.
“I just kept pressing ahead. It got my blood pumping. I had a good time,” he said.
Mitakeumi may get a chance at an ozeki promotion himself depending on his results at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka which kicks off Nov. 10.
“I want to get it done in one shot. More than 10 wins at the next tournament,” he said. “I’ll go in with a strong feeling… I’m fighting with confidence so all I can do is believe in myself.”
Born in Nagano Prefecture, Mitakeumi turned pro in 2015 and won his first makuuchi title at the Nagoya tournament in 2018, one year after he first reached the sport’s third highest rank.
He has amassed 207 wins in the top division and earned five Outstanding Performance Prizes, two Technique Prizes and a Fighting Spirit Prize while picking up two kinboshi (gold star) awards for defeating a yokozuna as a rank-and-file maegashira.