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Kotonowaka Promoted to Ozeki After Stellar Performance in New Year Basho

After finishing as the runner-up at the New Year Basho, Sadogatake wrestler Kotonowaka joins three others at sumo's second-highest rank.

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Kotonowaka (left) attends a news conference in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, on January 31, 2024. Sitting alongside the newly promoted ozeki is his father and stablemaster Sadogatake. (Pool photo/via KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Kotonowaka Promoted to Ozeki After Stellar Performance in New Year Basho

Just days after battling yokozuna Terunofuji for the title at the New Year Basho, sekiwake Kotonowaka was confirmed by the Japan Sumo Association as sumo's newest ozeki wrestler on Wednesday, January 31.

Kotonowaka came within one win of securing his first career championship when he took on Terunofuji in a winner-take-all playoff on Sunday, the final day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

While he was unable to beat Terunofuji in the playoff, his record of 13-2 gave him 33 wins from three consecutive tournaments as a sekiwake or komusubi, the unofficial benchmark for promotion to sumo's second-highest rank.

"With a feeling of gratitude, I will dedicate myself to the way of sumo so that I can live up to the expectations of an ozeki," Kotonowaka said upon receiving word of the promotion.

Kotonowaka comes from a long line of sumo wrestlers. His father is his Sadogatake stablemaster, the former sekiwake Kotonowaka, while his late grandfather was yokozuna Kotozakura.

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His promotion was approved unanimously by the JSA's rankings committee at an extraordinary session of its board of governors.

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Kotonowaka (top) shares a happy moment with other wrestlers after his ozeki promotion ceremony at Sadogatake stable in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, on January 31. (Pool photo/via KYODO)

Kotonowaka Intends to Use Grandfather's Wrestling Name in the Near Future

Kotonowaka said he plans to compete in the Spring Basho in March under the name Kotonowaka but hopes to switch to the Kotozakura moniker his grandfather fought under. 

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

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Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.

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