Ozeki Terunofuji may have missed out on a win on the final day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, but he walked away with his sport’s most coveted prize: promotion to yokozuna.
The Yokozuna Deliberation Council on July 19 Unanimously “recommended” that the Mongolian be promoted to the highest rank in sumo.
Terunofuji, 29, a member of the Isegahama team, recorded two consecutive Emperor’s Cups before ending with a 14-1 mark in Nagoya, his only loss coming on the final day against yokozuna Hakuho.
“In tournaments without yokozuna, he won twice in a row, and had 14 wins in the last tournament. We highly valued his achievements, ”said Hironori Yano, Chairman of the Board. “I listened to his interviews when he won the tournaments in March and May, and he was not lacking in dignity at all. I think he can become a great yokozuna.
Terunofuji held an online press conference on July 19 and said, “I have done everything I can do now.
The Japanese Sumo Association that received the recommendation will hold an extraordinary board meeting and determine the new ranking on July 21. On that day, Terunofuji will be the first to be promoted to yokozuna in the Reiwa era, which began in 2019.
During his online press conference, Terunofuji also spoke about what he will say during his promotion ceremony on July 21.
“I’m going to think again about what kind of position a yokozuna is and how I should live my life as a yokozuna,” he said.
Terunofuji’s unprecedented comeback has sparked a major buzz in the sport over the past year. He was promoted to ozeki in 2015 and appeared on track for yokozuna, but injuries derailed his career in the following years.
He fell to the second lowest jonidan division and admitted to having thought about retirement on several occasions.
But he worked his way through the ranks and, seemingly out of nowhere, Terunofuji won the July 2020 Grand Sumo Tournament, his first Emperor’s Cup since 2015. He returned to ozeki after his triumph in the Grand Spring Sumo Tournament in Tokyo in March.
Terunofuji will be the first wrestler to reach the highest rank since Kisenosato was promoted to yokozuna after the tournament in January 2017.
He will be the seventh yokozuna from abroad. The others are Akebono, Musashimaru, Asashoryu, Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu. He will be Mongolia’s fifth yokozuna.