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A lot of the air was taken out of the upcoming September tournament by the Japan Sumo Association’s decision to sit defending champion yokozuna Hakuho and all members of his Miyagino stable because of COVID-19 infections among lower-ranked wrestlers.

After July produced one of the most thrilling tournament finishes in recent memory, sumo fans were salivating at the prospect of a rematch between the sport’s greatest ever exponent, and Terunofuji, the first true rival Hakuho has faced since the retirement of Kakuryu.

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