Yokozuna Kakuryu pulls out of Kyushu tournament

Kakuryu’s career continues to hang by a thread as his stablemaster Izutsu said Wednesday the Monogolian yokozuna will withdraw from the upcoming Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

According to Izutsu, the 32-year-old wrestler has been experiencing lower back pain for the last few days in addition to pain in his right ankle from an injury he sustained at the Nagoya tournament in July.

The Fukuoka meet gets under way Sunday at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Kakuryu missed the entire Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in September along with two other yokozuna, Kisenosato and Hakuho, leaving Harumafuji as the only grand champion to compete in the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.

It is the fourth time in a row that Kakuryu will miss part or all of a tournament, and the fifth time this year.

Kakuryu’s career was put at stake when he announced his withdrawal from the last meet, and if he does not return to the raised ring in the next two weeks, a decision to retire from the sport will be delayed until the New Year tournament in January.

“He’s still feeling pain, and gets better one day and worse the next. He didn’t get enough training time so he rushed his preparations. It would be irresponsible (of him) to compete in his current condition. We’re terribly sorry,” Izutsu said.

“We’ll work hard for the New Year meet in January. He’ll get on the dohyo and depending on how he does he’ll have to make the call (to retire),” he said.

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