Injured yokozuna Hakuho pulls out of Spring Basho

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho decided Friday to withdraw from the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament starting Sunday to treat a toe injury, exiting his second straight meet because of health problems.

The all-time record holder for tournament victories is still three weeks away from fully rehabilitating a damaged ligament in his left big toe, according to stable master Miyagino. The Mongolian withdrew early in the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in January with injuries to both big toes.

Hakuho is the second yokozuna who’ll skip the 15-day tournament at Edion Arena Osaka, with Kisenosato earlier this week withdrawing because of an ongoing chest injury.

Kakuryu will start the tournament as the sole yokozuna in competition. The Mongolian, who had also been under an injury cloud after hurting his right ring finger on the final day of the New Year meet, earlier confirmed his participation in the Osaka tourney.

Takanoiwa, who was injured in a beating by former yokozuna Harumafuji last fall in Tottori, will compete as the 12th-ranked wrestler in the second-tier juryo division, making his first appearance in three tournaments.

Georgian sekiwake Tochinoshin, who won his first championship in January, said he will compete despite injuring his left foot during a training session on Tuesday and undergoing medical tests on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Japan Sumo Association has asked Egyptian wrestler Osunaarashi to retire as punishment for being involved in a vehicle collision while driving unlicensed earlier this year, an official with the governing body revealed Friday.