Ozeki Takakeisho withdrew from the ongoing July Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, with sources saying the wrestler had complained of discomfort in his left knee before the basho got under way.
Takakeisho posted his eighth win a day earlier to escape his second career kadoban, or demotion from the second-highest rank of ozeki to sekiwake, the sport's third-highest rank.
A kadoban-threatened ozeki needs to finish with a winning record in order to avoid demotion.
The 23-year-old Takakeisho, a Chiganoura stable fighter, is the fourth makuuchi division wrestler to pull out of the 15-day meet at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan after yokozuna Kakuryu and rank-and-filers Abi and Kotonowaka.
It is the first time since last year's Nagoya meet in July that Takakeisho will miss all or part of a grand tournament. His scheduled opponent for Thursday, komusubi Daieisho, wins by forfeit.
The audience size for the Tokyo tournament has been reduced to a quarter of full capacity, or about 2,500 people each day. The tournament was moved from Nagoya to Tokyo to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.