Expectations that Mongolian hegemony of Japan’s national sport would dissipate following Hakuho’s retirement survived about as long as any of the legendary yokozuna’s opponents did in the ring.

Back-to-back ozeki promotions for Mongolian natives Kirishima and Hoshoryu now brings that country’s total at the rank to seven — with the first five rikishi born in the land of the eternal blue sky to reach ozeki all eventually making it to yokozuna.

But while two decades of dominance don’t appear to be waning just yet, it wasn’t an auspicious beginning at sumo’s second-highest rank for one of Ulaanbaatar’s most recent promotees.