Top-division wrestler Shotenro, whose name has surfaced in a phone text message in connection with match fixing, denied once again on Monday any involvement in rigging bouts.
‘‘I have never been involved in that (match fixing). I want to return to the ring at a major tournament as soon as possible and show that I am serious about sumo,’’ said Shotenro, a Mongolian makuuchi-division wrestler.
In the email in question that came to light Feb 2, lower-tier division wrestler Enatsukasa, who was allegedly acting as a go-between in the schemes, sent a text to juryo-division wrestler Chiyohakuho last May that read, ‘‘The bout with Shotenro is for real,’’ implying that other matches had been fixed.
‘‘I am really upset that my name came out in that way. I wasn’t approached by anyone (to fix bouts), but yet my name was mentioned in an email. This is unforgivable,’’ Shotenro said.
A total of 14 people have been implicated in match fixing, but the Japan Sumo Association has said it has only confirmed four cases. Shotenro categorically denied involvement when questioned by a special investigative panel.
Shotenro’s sumo elder Fujishima, formerly ozeki Musoyama, is backing up his protege. He has apparently told him to stand tall in the face of the accusations.
Shotenro has handed over his bank book and cell phone to the investigative panel.
Although next month’s Spring Grand Sumo Tournament has been canceled, Shotenro showed up Monday as usual for morning training at the Fujishima stable in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward.
‘‘Tournaments will begin again some day. I have to practice with body and soul. This feeling never diminishes,’’ Shotenro said.