Shodai earns promotion to ozeki after winning first title

Shodai won his first makuuchi division title in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, and now is promoted to the second-highest rank of ozeki.

The 28-year-old Japanese fighting out of the Tokitsukaze stable becomes the first newly promoted ozeki since Asanoyama in March and the first Kumamoto Prefecture-born wrestler in 58 years to reach ozeki.

“I humbly accept,” Shodai said in his kojo stage speech, a custom for wrestlers newly promoted to the rank.

“I will devote myself to the way of sumo with the spirit of utmost sincerity so as not to disgrace the name of ozeki,” he said.

Sekiwake Shodai secured a 13-2 record and avoided a playoff for the Emperor’s Cup at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

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