Sumo: Grand Champion Kisenosato Withdraws From Kyushu Meet

Sumo: Grand champion Kisenosato withdraws from Kyushu meet

Grand champion Kisenosato has pulled out of the ongoing Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament due to pain in his left ankle and lower back, his stablemaster Tagonoura said Tuesday.

Kisenosato, 31, suffered a third straight loss Monday that left his record at 4-5 in the 15-day meet at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, equaling Musashimaru's all-time record by giving up five "kinboshi," or losses to rank-and-file wrestlers, in a single tournament.

It is the fourth consecutive tournament from which the Japan-born yokozuna has withdrawn and fifth time in his career. He forfeits Tuesday's scheduled bout against fourth-ranked maegashira Chiyonokuni.

Since his yokozuna promotion following victory at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in January, there has only been one tournament in which Kisenosato competed all 15 days.

"He doesn't have the strength he needs. He was trying to deliver good results but it's not turning out the way he had hoped," Tagonoura said.

"I'm very sorry but we decided there was no option but to withdraw. I hope to find a way to pull through this together," he said.

The Japan Sumo Association received a medical statement saying Kisenosato's injury, which includes ligament damage in his left foot, requires a recovery period of one month.

Kisenosato's withdrawal leaves only one of the four grand champions, Hakuho, competing in the meet in Fukuoka, the last of six sumo tournaments in the year. Hakuho, who is bidding for a record 40th career championship, is undefeated at 9-0.

Of the two other yokozuna, Kakuryu withdrew before the start of the tournament because of injury while Harumafuji pulled out on the third day after admitting he had assaulted another sumo wrestler.

It is the second time in as many meets that three yokozuna ended up on the absentee list. Harumafuji, who won the autumn basho in September, was the sole yokozuna competing at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan after the other three pulled out due to injuries.