Former ozeki Kotoshogiku, who dropped down the banzuke rankings to juryo for the first time in 15 years for the ongoing November Grand Sumo Tournament, has decided to retire, sources said Saturday.
Sources within the Japan Sumo Association said the 36-year-old Sadogatake stable wrestler, whose real name is Kazuhiro Kikutsugi, will take on the role of a toshiyori elder under the name Hidenoyama once the move is approved by the association board.
Kotoshogiku withdrew midway through the September tournament after injuring his left calf. He was fighting as an 11th-ranked maegashira, a rank-and-file wrestler in the top makuuchi division.
He pulled out of the 15-day meet at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, the final basho of the year, on Saturday with a 1-5 record.
The oldest active sekitori, or a member of the two upper divisions in sumo, Kotoshogiku made his debut in January 2002 and earned promotion to ozeki in 2011. He lost his ozeki status in 2017 after 32 tournaments.
He won his only championship at the New Year meet in 2016, where he became the first Japanese-born wrestler in a decade to claim the Emperor’s Cup.
Kotoshogiku has kept his makuuchi spot for 92 basho, seventh on sumo’s all-time list, and had 718 career makuuchi wins, the sixth-most in history.
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