B.Lkhagvasuren achieves goal by honoring stablemaster with title

Ozeki Kirishima B.Lkhagvasuren said Monday that winning the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament under the name he inherited from his stablemaster made the victory extra special. The 27-year-old from Mongolia is on the path for promotion to sumo’s highest rank, yokozuna, after clinching his second Emperor’s Cup, and first as an ozeki, at the 15-day tournament, which ended Sunday.

Having won his previous championship as sekiwake Kiribayama in March, he received his new ring name from his stablemaster, the former ozeki Kirishima, upon his promotion to the second-highest rank in May.

Speaking to reporters the day after his triumph in Fukuoka, Kirishima said winning another title to honor his stablemaster, now known as sumo elder Michinoku, had been “one of my goals.” “Winning the championship with the new name given to me by elder Michinoku is something special,” Kirishima said.

His 13-2 performance at the final tournament of 2023 saw him finish the year with 62 wins, the most by any wrestler in the top division. He went unbeaten through the final eight days at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Only one wrestler, No. 8 maegashira Atamifuji, was still in contention to catch him on the last day, but the youngster’s loss to sekiwake Kotonowaka ended the title race before Kirishima stepped into the ring for the tournament’s closing bout against fellow ozeki Takakeisho.

The Japan Sumo Association indicated Sunday that another championship or record worthy of a title at the January tournament will most likely be enough to earn Kirishima a promotion to yokozuna.

Only one wrestler, Mongolian-born Terunofuji, currently holds the top rank, but a succession of injuries limited him to just one full tournament this year.

(source: The Japan times)

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