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Injury-hit yokozuna Kakuryu's career in the sumo ring inched closer to the precipice Friday, when his stablemaster said he will miss the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament due to lower-back issues.

The Mongolian-born grand champion's withdrawal from the meet starting Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan means he will have pulled out hurt from four straight grand tournaments. In November, he received a stern warning from the Japan Sumo Association over his absences from the ring.

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