• Kyodo

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Sumo elder Isegahama, who gave up his seat on the Japan Sumo Association’s board of directors after an assault scandal involving a wrestler from his stable, is leaning toward running in February’s board election, a JSA source said Sunday.

Isegahama voluntarily accepted a two-rank demotion within sumo’s administrative hierarchy as a way of taking responsibility after his stable’s former yokozuna, Harumafuji, injured another wrestler in an assault while drinking at a restaurant and bar in the city of Tottori while on a regional tour last October.

The 57-year-old Isegahama, who wrestled under the name of Asahifuji and reached the rank of yokozuna, is eligible to take part in the JSA board election set to be held Feb. 2. The election, held every two years, makes it possible for Isegahama to quickly regain his post.

Stablemaster and JSA Director Takanohana, whose wrestler Takanoiwa was injured in the assault, was punished with a two-rank demotion by the JSA on Thursday, ostensibly for not reporting the assault promptly and thus failing in his duty as regional tour director.

Like Isegahama, Takanohana will also be eligible to regain his seat on the board of directors should he run in the upcoming election.

Takanohana’s demotion is expected to be made official at Thursday’s extraordinary session of the JSA’s board of councilors.

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