Spring Grand Sumo Tournament winner Kiribayama said Monday that with celebrations over the previous night, he is already looking ahead to the next meet where he will seek promotion to the second-highest rank of ozeki.
The 26-year-old Mongolian sekiwake won his first career top-division title by defeating komusubi Daieisho in the final regulation bout and again in a sudden-death tiebreaker Sunday at Edion Arena Osaka.
"It was the best feeling," Kiribayama told a press conference in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture. "But yesterday ended yesterday. Starting today, I'd like to think about the next tournament."
The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament begins May 14 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.
In Osaka, Kiribayama, whose real name is Byambachuluun Lkhagvasuren, forced the tiebreaker with his 12th win of the 15-day tournament in his debut as sekiwake.
He appears to be in a good position to achieve the Japan Sumo Association's benchmark of 33 wins across three tournaments for promotion to ozeki, having won 11 matches in January and 12 in March.
"Only great wrestlers can move up to ozeki. I'll try to train and live my life as usual without thinking too much about becoming ozeki," Kiribayama said.
The Spring tournament was overshadowed by the absence of wrestlers from sumo's top two ranks for the first time since the start of Japan's Showa era in 1926.
Sole yokozuna Terunofuji sat out from the opening day for the third straight meet after having surgery on both knees last October, while lone ozeki Takakeisho withdrew on Day 7 with a knee injury.
On Sunday, Japan Sumo Association chief Hakkaku said of Kiribayama's ozeki promotion bid, "It's up to him to seize this opportunity or miss it. He has to work hard."
Sumo: Kiribayama beats Daieisho in playoff to claim Spring tourney