Hakuho pulls out of Spring tourney

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hakuho gestures after his match Sunday at the Spring tournament in Tokyo.

Three days into the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament and aging yokozuna Hakuho has once again become a no-show.

Hakuho on Tuesday notified the Japan Sumo Association that he was withdrawing from the tournament due to a knee problem, making it the fifth tournament in a row that he has missed all or part of.

Hakuho, who along with fellow yokozuna and absentee Kakuryu had received a disciplinary caution from sumo officials last year for their constant absences, had won his first two matches of the tournament currently underway at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

But according to stablemaster Miyagino, Hakuho was being hampered by a chronic problem in his right knee, and indicated he will undergo surgery soon in order to be return to action as soon as possible.

With Kakuryu withdrawing prior to the start of the tournament, once again there are no yokozuna taking the ring.

It was after they both sat out the November tournament last year that the Yokozuna Deliberation Council issued the two yokozuna with a rare caution.

Hakuho was forced to also miss the New Year tournament in January after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The latest withdrawal comes just days after he turned 36 on March 11.