Fast-rising Hoshoryu clinched a maiden title, and earned promotion to sumo’s second highest rank of ozeki, with a fine 12-3 effort in Nagoya last month.

The 10th Mongolian-born rikishi to lift the Emperor’s Cup only turned 24 in May and is on track to reach even greater heights over the next few years.

Unfortunately for Hokutofuji — the man who went into the final weekend of the July meet as sole leader, before ultimately falling to Hoshoryu in a playoff — the future doesn’t look quite as bright.