Kakuryu withdrew from the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, joining fellow yokozuna Hakuho on the sidelines due to injury.
Kakuryu pulled out of the 15-day meet following his third loss the previous day against No. 1 maegashira Myogiryu.
With both Mongolian-born grand champions out injured, the meet at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan will proceed without any wrestlers competing at sumo’s highest rank.
Hakuho, winner of the Kyushu Basho in November, withdrew on Day 4. According to his stablemaster, Miyagino, he was suffering from a fever along with lower back inflammation following a heavy fall in his loss to Endo on Monday.
The 34-year-old Kakuryu was making his return to the ring at the New Year meet after pulling out of the two previous tournaments with injuries to his knee and back, respectively.
He will forfeit his scheduled bout against No. 2 maegashira Mitakeumi on Day 5, leaving him with a 1-4 record at the tournament.