Terunofuji completed his sterling debut as sumo's 73rd yokozuna by winning the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament to notch his fifth career championship on Sunday.
The grand champion entered the final day of the 15-day tourney at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan one win ahead of No. 10 maegashira Myogiryu (11-4), whose loss to new sekiwake Meisei (8-7) ensured Terunofuji's title.
"I could not achieve this level of performance on my own," Terunofuji said after wrapping up the tourney with his 13th win, becoming the ninth wrestler in history to win on his yokozuna debut.
"Starting with my stablemaster and his wife, to my colleagues at the stable, to my family, and to all those who come to watch. They are the ones who make this possible and I am grateful to all of them."
For his own spectacular efforts over the first 14 days that included wins over both of the ozeki opponents he faced, the 34-year-old Myogiryu was awarded his sixth career Technique Prize and his first in eight years.
A former sekiwake who had never won a championship, Myogiryu admitted being nervous before his final bout.
"It was a first for me, of course, and I was nervous, thinking of various things," he said. "I had winning performances and losing ones, but the whole tournament was fought on my terms, my way."
"A wrestler of my ranking doesn't normally face ozeki, so I wanted to do well against them to show my appreciation to those who have been supporting me."
His bout against Meisei, however, ended in a heartbeat. Starting farther back of the line than his opponent, Meisei built up a good head of steam before colliding with Myogiryu at mid-ring, rocking him back and then deftly forcing him forward and down.
Terunofuji finished in style with an easy force-out of ozeki Shodai (8-7). The yokozuna allowed the ozeki to charge forward as he snuck in his left hand for an under-arm belt hold that allowed him to maneuver Shodai out.
The Mongolian-born powerhouse has now won four Emperor's Cups since his return to the top division in July 2020 after plummeting down the rankings due to a debilitating run of injuries that included surgery on both knees.
While there is still one grand tournament remaining this year, in November in Fukuoka, Terunofuji's 13th win ensures he will finish the year with the most victories.
"I'm glad I gave it all I could," said Terunofuji, when asked to reflect on the tournament. "It doesn't help to dwell too much on some things. Rather, it's our job to wrestle well once you're in the ring and to show you're giving it your best."
"Every championship is extremely difficult, so each time what I feel most is a sense of gratitude."
Sekiwake Mitakeumi (9-6) snapped a three-bout losing streak by shoving out ozeki Takakeisho (8-7), who finished the tournament the way he started, with three straight defeats.
No. 4 maegashira Daieisho, who handed Terunofuji his first loss as yokozuna after eight straight wins, earned an Outstanding Performance prize. In his final bout, Daieisho (10-5) shoved out komusubi Ichinojo (8-7).
No. 6 Onosho (10-5) lost to No. 4 Tamawashi (6-9), costing him an 11th win and a fourth career Fighting Spirit Prize he had been slated to earn had he won.
Elsewhere, four wrestlers secured their eighth win on the final day in bouts against rivals with matching 7-7 records.
No. 7 Shimanoumi shoved out No. 1 Takanosho, veteran No. 5 Takarafuji forced out No. 12 and former ozeki Tochinoshin, No. 14 Yutakayama earned an overarm-throw victory over No. 10 Chiyotairyu, and No. 11 Kotoeko pushed out No. 9 Aoiyama.
Sumo: Terunofuji retains lead, Myogiryu 1 win back ahead of final day
Sumo: Yokozuna Terunofuji rebounds with win, remains in sole lead
Sumo: Meisei stuns Terunofuji as yokozuna suffers 2nd loss