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Thursday, May 25, 2000

Miyabiyama officially promoted

Sekiwake Miyabiyama was officially promoted to sumo's second highest rank of ozeki Wednesday after posting a solid 11-4 record at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) board of directors gave the green light to the promotion of Miyabiyama, whose record of 34-11 over the last three tournaments met the JSA's guidelines for ozeki promotion.

A JSA messenger visited the Musashigawa stable in Tokyo and informed Miyabiyama and his stable master of the decision to elevate the 22-year-old Ibaraki native to ozeki, only 12 tournaments after his professional debut in July 1998.

Miyabiyama thus matched former yokozuna Haguroyama and Yutakayama, the current JSA head and sumo elder Tokitsukaze, for the fastest promotion since the start of the Showa Era in 1926.

Miyabiyama joined the Musashigawa stable out of Meiji University prior to the Nagoya tournament two years ago and promptly won the makushita junior division title twice with perfect 7-0 marks.

He then won back-to-back titles in the second-tier juryo division to win promotion to the makuuchi division in March 1999.

Miyabiyama became the sixth wrestler to come out of college sumo and reach ozeki. He made the Musashigawa stable the first in history to have four wrestlers in the top two ranks along with yokozuna Musashimaru and ozeki Dejima and Musoyama.

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The Japan Times

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