Sekiwake Kotonowaka, who last weekend came within one win of securing his first career championship at the New Year tourney, was confirmed by the Japan Sumo Association as sumo's newest ozeki wrestler on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old from Chiba Prefecture comes from a sumo family. His late maternal grandfather was yokozuna Kotozakura, while his father is his Sadogatake stablemaster, the former sekiwake Kotonowaka.

The promotion to the sport's second-highest rank was approved unanimously by the JSA's rankings committee and an extraordinary session of its board of directors.