The sumo bout-fixing unearthed in seized cell phone texts points to a practice that, according to at least one expert, was born out of a need by young wrestlers to survive a short-lived career where the spoils at the top are elusive and the threat of demotion and loss of pay is ever-present.

The bout-fixing has led the Japan Sumo Association to cancel next month’s annual spring tournament in Osaka, and an independent panel has been tasked with getting to the bottom of the rigged matches.

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