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Injured sumo wrestler Kotoshogiku set to continue career even at lower rank: local mayor

Kotoshogiku, right, grimaces as he grapples with Hoshoryu during the September Grand Sumo Tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo venue on Sept. 20, 2020. (Mainichi/ Koichiro Tezuka)

YANAGAWA -- Sumo wrestler Kotoshogiku, who hails from the city of Yanagawa in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Fukuoka, phoned the city's mayor and told him that he wanted to recover from injury and continue to wrestle, even if he were dropped from sumo's top division, the mayor said on Sept. 30.

    In a regularly scheduled news conference on Sept. 30, Mayor Kenji Kaneko said that he received a phone call from the 36-year-old former ozeki-ranked wrestler the previous day. He quoted Kotoshogiku as saying he was being treated for an injury and would like to wrestle again if he received the chance to do so.

    Kotoshogiku temporarily pulled out of the September Grand Sumo Tournament with a left calf injury, and later returned, but finished with a poor record of two wins, 10 losses, and three absences. His fans had accordingly expressed concerns about his future as a wrestler.

    Kaneko said that Kotoshogiku told him he would continue to wrestle even if he were dropped from sumo's top makuuchi division to the juryo division. He said that many residents had told him that they wanted him to continue wrestling without retiring.

    "I got the impression from the phone call that he would take part in the November Grand Sumo Tournament if he overcomes his injury," Kaneko said.

    (Japanese original by Shiro Mitsushima Kurume Bureau)

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