Sumo: Japan welcomes another Mongolian grand champ

TOKYO - Japan's sumo authority on Wednesday promoted a Mongolian wrestler to the top rank, consolidating the land-locked nation's grip on the ancient sport.

The sumo association unanimously approved the promotion of 28-year-old Kakuryu to the rank of yokozuna, or grand champion, after he crashed through his opponents with a 14-1 record at the most recent tournament.

He joins two other Mongolians who are also at the sport's highest level.

"I will devote myself to practising and make earnest efforts so that I will not disgrace the name of yokozuna," said the 186-centimetre (6ft 1in) Kakuryu, whose real name is Mangaljalav Anand.

Grand champions in the tradition-steeped sport are expected not only to perform in the ring, but also to be role models.

Kakuryu, who tips the scales at a substantial 154 kilograms (340 pounds) is the 71st yokozuna and sixth non-Japanese to hold the much respected title.

His promotion, which came after the spring tournament finished in Osaka on Sunday, means all three yokozuna are Mongolian