Outside of a 14-1 title winning performance in May, yokozuna Terunofuji has barely set foot on a honbasho dohyo over the past year, competing in just three bouts since withdrawing midway through the 2022 September tournament.

To make matters worse, the 31-year-old veteran announced his withdrawal from the upcoming Autumn meet on Friday.

Terunofuji’s absence brings the ending to one of sumo’s all-time great stories even closer, and threatens to leave Japan’s national sport without a yokozuna for the first time in over two decades.