Photo/Illutration Yokozuna Terunofuji drives sekiwake Kiribayama from the dohyo on May 27 to win the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament. (Shota Tomonaga)

Lone yokozuna Terunofuji staged a remarkable recovery from surgery on both knees by defeating his nearest rival and winning the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on May 27. He now has eight Emperor’s Cups to his name.

Terunofuji, 31, sat out four straight tournaments due to health issues, but entered the 14th day of the summer tournament with only a single defeat.

In the day’s final match that lasted just over a minute, Terunofuji drove fellow Mongolian Kiribayama from the dohyo after gaining a strong hold on his belt. Terunofuji has never lost to Kiribayama in their 10 bouts in the makuuchi division.

The last time Terunofuji won a tournament was exactly a year ago.

While Kiribayama dropped to a 11-3 record, that will be enough to ensure his promotion to ozeki in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament to be held in July. Kiribayama won the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka in March.

Terunofuji has a history of incredible comebacks.

He zoomed up the sumo ranks after first entering the sumo world in 2011 and reached the second-highest ozeki rank in 2015.

But injuries led him to be demoted to the second-lowest jonidan division. He rose through the ranks to win tournaments and eventually promotion to yokozuna in 2021.