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The Japan Sumo Association’s investigative panel on illegal gambling has said it will hold a meeting Friday at Ryogoku Kokugikan to draw a conclusion on Takanohana’s alleged ties with mobsters, as reported by the media.

In recent talks with the panel and acting association chief Hiroyoshi Murayama, Takanohana flatly denied both media reports that the former grand champion contacted a member of an underworld group in Ehime Prefecture in June and that he was with a different mobster in Kobe two years ago.

In February, Takanohana won a seat on the JSA board amid hopes that the 37-year-old former star would help to reform the scandal-hit sport.

According to Murayama, the weekly Shukan Shincho is set to publish a fresh report this week on former ozeki Chiyotaikai’s alleged involvement in illegal gambling.

The investigative panel said last week the previous Shukan Shincho report on Chiyotaikai lacks credibility, claiming it provides no supporting evidence.

“It’s a shame that reports keep coming in about gambling allegations,” Murayama said Tuesday while mentioning the possibility of the panel investigating Chiyotaikai, now sumo elder Sanoyama, once again.

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