• Kyodo

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The retirement of record 45-time champion yokozuna Hakuho is expected to be formally accepted by the Japan Sumo Association at a regular board meeting later this week, a source familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

“I’ve more than fulfilled my role. I cannot continue wrestling (in the way expected of) a yokozuna,” Hakuho was quoted as saying by a close associate.

Hakuho informed the JSA of his decision on Monday and it is expected to be rubber-stamped on Thursday.

Hakuho returned to win the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July with a perfect 15-0 record after missing all or part of the previous six tournaments due to injuries and having been infected with COVID-19.

But the Mongolian-born wrestler was unable to fully recover from a right knee injury that required surgery in March.

He and 17 other wrestlers from Miyagino stable were forced to skip the just-ended Autumn Basho due to multiple COVID-19 cases in the stable.

The 36-year-old acquired Japanese citizenship in September 2019, a pre-requirement for remaining with the JSA as a sumo elder, and is aiming to assume the name of Magaki.

While Hakuho is expected to coach his fellow wrestlers at his stable after retirement, he is also planning to run his own stable in Tokyo in the future.

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