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Ozeki Kirishima withdraws from the summer tournament and risks relegation


Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Ozeki Kirishima, left, is knocked out by No. 1 maegashira Atamifuji on Tuesday at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.

Ozeki Kirishima withdrew from the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday, a move that all but guarantees he will be demoted from the sport’s second-highest rank for the next tournament.

Kirishima competed under kadoban status, meaning he needs a majority of wins at the summer tournament to maintain his rank, having finished the previous tournament with a 5-10 record after being hampered by a neck injury .

The 28-year-old Mongolian started the tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo with losses on five of the first six days. Assuming he doesn’t return to action, he will be assured of the losing record that will bring a relegation to sekiwake after six tournaments as an ozeki.

Kirishima’s withdrawal gives his seventh day opponent, No. 3 maegashira Tobizaru, a win by default.

Kirishima won his first career title at last year’s spring tournament while wrestling as a sekiwake under his original ring name Kiribayama. He changed his name upon promotion to Ozeki after the following summer tournament, and won a second championship at the Kyushu Tournament later that year.

Kirishima’s withdrawal comes after both Yokozuna Terunofuji and Ozeki Takakeisho withdrew after the first day.

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