Sumo: Terunofuji takes his place as yokozuna in latest rankings

Kyodo -- Aug 31
Mongolian Terunofuji found himself among the ranks of sumo's historic elite as the ancient sport's 73rd yokozuna on Monday when the Japan Sumo Association rankings for September's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament were published.

The 29-year-old's remarkable journey will enter its newest phase on Sept. 12, when the 15-day grand tournament gets under way at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. Terunofuji will become the sport's sixth oldest "new" yokozuna, and just the second to ascend to the rank after having once been demoted from the second-highest rank of ozeki.

Terunofuji, an ozeki wrestler from July 2015 to November 2017, saw injuries and illness nearly wreck his career. Surgeries on both knees prevented him from competing for four consecutive grand tournaments, forcing him to begin his comeback from sumo's second-lowest division, jonidan, in March 2019.

Since battling his way back to the elite makuuchi division in July 2020, Terunofuji has won three of seven tournaments and twice finished runner-up.

He was denied his fifth career championship in July by yokozuna Hakuho, who beat him on the final day to win the Nagoya tourney with a perfect 15-0 record. Hakuho, also Mongolian born, sits atop the rankings for September in the more prestigious east slot with Terunofuji on the west.