Maegashira Kotoryu to call it quits

Veteran sumo wrestler Kotoryu, who has been plagued with a liver ailment in recent tournaments, has decided to retire and will become a sumo elder, his stablemaster Sadogatake said Wednesday.

Kotoryu, 33, made his professional debut in 1987 and wrestled in the elite makuuchi division for a total of 51 tournaments since being promoted to the top flight for the first time in July 1996. His peak position was No. 1 maegashira, the fifth highest in the sport.

Last month, he wrestled as a 12th-ranked maegashira but withdrew from the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament citing liver problems after losing his first three bouts — a result certain to relegate him to the second-tier juryo division.