Terunofuji pulled out of the ongoing Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament citing a knee injury Thursday, ending the possibility of his immediate return to ozeki status.
Terunofuji’s withdrawal from the 15-day meet leaves him with an 0-5 record as he forfeits Thursday’s bout against fellow sekiwake Mitakeumi. A sekiwake can be promoted to the second-highest rank of ozeki with at least 10 wins in the first basho following his demotion.
According to Terunofuji’s stablemaster Isegahama, the 25-year-old Mongolian will not return to the ring at Fukuoka Kokusai Center during a tournament that is already missing seven top-tier makuuchi division wrestlers, including two yokozuna, Harumafuji and Kakuryu.
Terunofuji has been diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his left knee that requires four weeks of recovery, the Japan Sumo Association said. It is the third straight meet he has withdrawn from.
“He has water in his left knee,” Isegahama said. “He has to make sure it heals completely. He must know now he shouldn’t have tried to compete if he can only fight the way he did. The least he can do to make it up (to the fans) is to take part in the winter regional tour.”
Terunofuji, who competed as an ozeki in 14 straight meets, was demoted to sekiwake after posting losing records at two straight basho.
Terunofuji was reported to be among the group of Mongolians who took part in the party late last month where yokozuna Harumafuji allegedly assaulted and injured lower-ranked wrestler Takanoiwa.
Takanoiwa’s withdrawal was announced before the tournament got underway, and Harumafuji pulled out on the third day after the media reported the scandal.