Takanoiwa withdraws from New Year Basho

Kyodo

Takanoiwa, who sustained head injuries as the victim of an assault case in late October, has withdrawn from the upcoming New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, the Japan Sumo Association said Friday.

The meet begins on Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In a meeting to discuss the bouts for the tuorney, the JSA decided that Takanoiwa, who is now a third-ranked grappler in the second-tier juryo division, will not be demoted to the lower makushita division for the spring meet in March.

By submitting a doctor’s note, the 27-year-old has been granted medical leave that would allow him to avoid demotion to the non-salaried makushita ranking even in the event he misses all 15 days of the New Year meet.