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Sumo: Yokozuna Kisenosato to pull out of spring meet in Osaka

Yokozuna Kisenosato (Mainichi)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Kisenosato, one of three grand champions in the latest banzuke rankings, will withdraw from the upcoming Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, his stablemaster Tagonoura said Thursday.

    Tagonoura said the 31-year old wrestler, the only Japanese yokozuna, has yet to recover from a chest injury which forced him to delay preparations for the March 11-25 event at Edion Arena Osaka.

    "He hasn't yet recovered from the injury to the left of his chest," Tagonoura said.

    "He wants to compete but he says he wants to step into the ring in the proper manner. I want him to fight like a yokozuna and put on a performance that will convince everyone. In order to do that, he needs to get treated, train harder and develop a stronger mind," he said.

    Kisenosato becomes the first yokozuna since Musashimaru in 2002-2003 to miss all or part of six straight tournaments. Takanohana holds the record for consecutive basho missed by a yokozuna since the six-tournament system was established in 1958, having sat out seven straight meets from 2001 to 2002.

    Kisenosato suffered injuries to his left upper arm and chest muscles in March last year. He is the first Japan-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to yokozuna, sumo's highest rank.

    Meanwhile, Takanohana, the stablemaster of Takanoiwa, the wrestler who was injured in a beating by former yokozuna Harumafuji last fall, refused to speak to reporters awaiting news on the participation of the Mongolian who is now ranked 12th in the second-tier juryo division.

    "No comment. I cannot answer any questions," Takanohana said despite hinting last week that Takanoiwa's participation will be decided before Friday, the day the match-making committee meets to set the bout schedule.

    Georgian sekiwake Tochinoshin, who won his first championship in January, said he will compete although he injured his left foot during a training session on Tuesday and underwent medical tests on Wednesday.

    "It's a lot better. It's not like I can't fight. I hope the inflammation goes away. It hurts a bit but I'm okay. I just have to do my best," Tochinoshin said.

    Stablemasters Miyagino and Izutsu both said they will reach a decision on the participation of their two yokozuna, Hakuho and Kakuryu, on Friday morning. Hakuho pulled out of the New Year meet with an injury to his left big toe, and Kakuryu injured his right ring finger on the final day of the same meet.


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