Tochinoshin was officially promoted to sumo’s second-highest rank of ozeki by the Japan Sumo Association on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old Georgian, whose real name is Levan Gorgadze, became the third European wrestler to reach the rank as he moved up from sekiwake. He is the first new ozeki since Takayasu was promoted after last year’s Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
Upon receiving the news at his Kasugano stable in Tokyo, Tochinoshin delivered a “kojo” stage speech, a custom for wrestlers newly promoted to the status.
“I will follow my stablemaster’s teachings and put my heart and soul into training in order to become a good role model for other wrestlers,” Tochinoshin said.
After winning 37 bouts in the previous three tournaments, including a 10-5 performance on his sekiwake debut in March, the Georgian more than exceeded the 33-win criterion for promotion.
Tochinoshin was virtually guaranteed an ozeki promotion after going 13-2 in the summer tournament that concluded Sunday, including a 12-match undefeated run and his first victory in 26 career meetings against all-time championship record-holder Hakuho.
His promotion was rubber stamped after a unanimous decision was reached at Wednesday’s extraordinary JSA board meeting.