Yokozuna Asashoryu left Japan for Mongolia on Monday to receive treatment for his injured elbow and may not return to the ring until the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, possibly putting his career on the line.
Asashoryu, who pulled out midway through the autumn meet last month, presented the Japan Sumo Association earlier in the day with a medical certificate saying he would need a four-week rest because of a damaged ligament in his left elbow.
“I realize from my experience that a good result doesn’t follow if you wrestle before recovering fully from an injury,” Asashoryu said. “My body doesn’t move well when my mind tells me to go fast. I just want to get back to perfect shape first and then get myself motivated for a tournament.”
The Mongolian, who will skip the upcoming regional tour beginning Sunday, suggested the possibility of sitting out the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament next month and his future would hang in the balance in his next tournament appearance.
“I’ll decide whether to wrestle (in Kyushu) or not depending on the injury situation and what I need to do now is to concentrate on treatment,” said Asashoryu, who withdrew during the last two tournaments.
“There will not be a third time that I pull out,” he said, indicating that he would likely choose to quit if his return to the ring proves unsuccessful.