• Kyodo

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Newly promoted yokozuna Kisenosato sustained a cut above his left eye during a training session on Monday, though he made clear it was not serious after returning from the hospital with stitches.

Kisenosato, who became the first Japanese-born yokozuna in 19 years when he reached sumo’s highest rank in late January, received treatment for the gash at the Tagonoura stable after an apparent training bout head clash with Yoshikaze.

“I’m all right. This doesn’t count as an injury. There’s no pain whatsoever,” said Kisenosato, who injured the same area four years ago in a training session with yokozuna Harumafuji.

“I’m in good shape and almost in top form. My (physical) impacts are getting stronger,” he said.

Rank-and-file wrestler Yoshikaze, along with sekiwake Kotoshogiku, were having a degeiko, where wrestlers visit rival stables for training bouts.

In the March 12-26 Spring Grand Sumo Tournament At Edion Arena in Osaka, Kisenosato occupies the yokozuna slot on the west side and four grand champions will compete in the elite makuuchi division for the first time since the spring meet in 2000.

After winning the New Year Basho with a 14-1 mark in January, Kisenosato became the first Japanese-born wrestler to be promoted to yokozuna since Wakanohana in 1998.

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