Spring tournament winner Takerufuji withdraws from summer competition

Takerufuji, winner of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, will miss the start of the summer competition this weekend due to a lingering ankle injury, his Isegahama team decided on Thursday.

The 25-year-old is ranked maegashira No. 6 for the 15-day summer grand sumo tournament that begins Sunday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

He became the first wrestler in 110 years to win a championship in his top division debut by finishing the March tournament in Osaka with a 13-2 record.

The Aomori Prefecture native injured his right ankle on the penultimate day at Osaka’s Edion Arena, where he was fighting as the lowest-ranked No. 17 maegashira, but fought back from injury to clinch his historic title on the final day.

Takerufuji celebrates with his mother (front) after winning the 15-day spring grand sumo tournament in Osaka on its final day, March 24, 2024. The maegashira, ranked 17th, became the first wrestler since Ryogoku in 1914 to win a championship. on his debut in the first division. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

However, his ankle has not recovered as well as hoped and he will miss at least part of the upcoming competition.

“He is still not cured. He cannot compete in this condition,” said his stable master, former yokozuna Asahifuji.

If Takerufuji misses the entire tournament, he is almost certain to drop to the second-tier juryo division for the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July.

The Isegahama stablemaster, meanwhile, did not say whether his stable’s most prominent member, yokozuna Terunofuji, would be able to compete.

The injury-prone grand champion withdrew midway through the March competition due to lower back pain and other health issues and did not follow a full training program. He complained of pain in his left side during a training session organized by the Yokozuna Deliberation Council last week.

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