Sumo's governing body decided Friday to demote former yokozuna Hakuho, now known as stablemaster Miyagino, and give him a salary cut over repeated violence by his 22-year-old protege Hokuseiho.

The Japan Sumo Association has accepted the retirement of the Mongolian-born, Hokkaido-raised Hokuseiho after he physically abused junior stablemates on a routine basis, saying it would have recommended that he retire had he not made the decision first. Some of Hokuseiho's violent acts included slapping their faces, backs and testicles, hitting their buttocks with a broom handle and lighting insecticide spray to project flames at them.

"I feel a heavy responsibility for being unable to protect the (abused) proteges," said Miyagino, who won a record 45 top-division championships during his sumo career as Hakuho. "I'm so sorry for causing concern to the sumo association, fans and those who support me."