Jiji PressDAZAIFU, Fukuoka (Jiji Press) — Yokozuna Harumafuji submitted Wednesday a letter of retirement to the Japan Sumo Association to take responsibility for assaulting a junior wrestler.
The 33-year-old Mongolian yokozuna has told police and the association that he beat and injured Takanoiwa, another Mongolian wrestler, at a drinking party in the city of Tottori during a sumo tour in late October.
At a press conference in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Wednesday, Harumafuji said, “I feel responsible as a yokozuna for injuring Takanoiwa and I’m retiring as of today.”
“I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart for bringing inconvenience to the people who have supported me, and I did what a yokozuna should not have done,” he said.
It is the first retirement of a yokozuna since Asashoryu, a Mongolian, was forced to finish his sumo career in February 2010 after assaulting an acquaintance.
Referring to his future, Harumafuji said, “I’ll live in a manner that will not bring inconvenience to people, based on lessons learned from my stablemaster and his wife and from the way of sumo during my 17-year career.”
Harumafuji hit Takanoiwa, allegedly angered by the lower-ranked wrestler’s behavior, during the party that was also attended by Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu.
At the press conference, Harumafuji said, “I scolded the junior wrestler for his sake, but eventually hurt him.” “I’d never hurt anyone over drinks,” he said.
At a meeting of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, an advisory body to the sumo association, on Monday, many members called for a harsh punishment against Harumafuji over the assault case.
Takanoiwa was absent for the Kyushu grand tournament in Fukuoka earlier this month, citing injury. Harumafuji dropped out from the third day of the 15-day meet, after the assault case came to light, also citing injury.Speech