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Yokozuna Kakuryu, a six-time Emperor’s Cup winner whose career is on the line after withdrawing from four straight tournaments, said Wednesday he will compete in the upcoming Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

“It’s time I competed,” the 35-year-old Kakuryu, who has long been dealing with elbow and lower back pain, told reporters over the phone. “Whether I can focus on my sumo — it all comes down to that.”

The Mongolian-born yokozuna has missed all of the last three tournaments and all but the first day of last July’s meet. He and fellow yokozuna Hakuho sit atop the rankings for the March 14 to 28 basho at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Both Kakuryu and Hakuho were admonished for their absences by the JSA Yokozuna Deliberation Council after the November tourney. The warning the two received is the sternest admonition the advisory board can issue short of a recommendation that a wrestler retire.

Hakuho, who tested positive for the coronavirus in January, has not competed since the 12th day of the July tourney last year. He had endoscopic surgery on his right knee the following month.

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