The Japan Sumo Association forced two more wrestlers into retirement Monday for match-fixing, punishing Sokokurai who belongs to the elite makuuchi division and Hoshikaze of the lower juryo division following an extraordinary board meeting.
Sokokurai’s stablemaster Arashio and Hoshikaze’s stablemaster Oguruma were each hit with demotions for failing to supervise their wrestlers. Both wrestlers said they would not submit their retirement papers and Chinese-born Sokokurai said he would be consulting lawyers.
“This investigation has felt suspicious,” said Sokokurai. “Of course I will not be submitting anything. I want to consult a lawyer and reveal the truth.”
Arashio added, “I believe Sokokurai and I have just got to let him do as he wants now. It is up to him to decide whether he will accept this and if he wants to take it to court then I can’t stop him.”
Hoshikaze said, “You can’t just decide the fate of someone’s life without conducting an investigation properly. I am not buying this and won’t be handing in my papers.”
The JSA has punished a total of 25 wrestlers and coaches for their involvement in the match-fixing scandal. Only stablemaster Tanigawa has refused to retire, citing injustice in the JSA’s investigation.
“It is very unfortunate that another two wrestlers are being punished and I feel really sorry,” said JSA chairman Hanaregoma.