Yokozuna withdraws from November basho

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Kisenosato on Nov. 12 (screenshot)

FUKUOKA, JAPAN – November’s sumo wrestling basho is now without any yokozuna following the withdrawal of the struggling Kisenosato on Thursday.

Kisenosato became the first yokozuna in decades to begin a tournament with an 0-4 record, including three consecutive kinboshi.

After becoming the 72nd grand champion in the history of the sport, Kisenosato skipped or withdrew from eight consecutive tournaments due to arm and chest injuries before posting a 10-5 record in September.

Talking to reporters, the Ibaraki native apologized for his poor performance but made no mention of retirement, instead indicating that he would return to the dohyo after fully recovering from his injuries.

He came into this month’s basho hoping for a piece of the title, but right now the lead for that prize is shared by Takakeisho and Tochiozan, the two-remaining undefeated rikishi.

Tochiozan gained his fifth win of the tournament by handing Takayasu his first defeat through sukuinage. After the loss, the ozeki joins five other rikishi at 4-1, just behind the two leaders.