Terunofuji makes comeback to ozeki rank

Sumo wrestler Terunofuji is set to reclaim his title of ozeki, the second-highest rank in the traditional Japanese sport.

The Japan Sumo Association approved the promotion at an extraordinary meeting of its board of directors on Wednesday.

The Mongolian-born wrestler will return to the rank of ozeki for the first time in 21 tournaments since the September 2017 autumnal bouts.

Terunofuji won his third championship in the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, which ended on Sunday with a record 12 wins and three losses. That gave him a total of 36 wins in the last three tournaments, surpassing the benchmark of 33 considered necessary for promotion to ozeki.

Terunofuji was demoted from ozeki to a lower rank at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in November 2017 due to a knee injury and other conditions. He later fell further to the second-lowest division of jonidan, forcing him to consider retirement.

Terunofuji is the first wrestler since the Showa era began in 1926 to return to ozeki after being demoted to or below the second-tier division of juryo. He spent 21 tournaments in lower ranks -- the longest time since the Showa era that a wrestler has spent there before regaining status.

Messengers from the sumo association will visit his Isegahama stable in Tokyo later on Wednesday to convey the decision.