Yokozuna Terunofuji Pulls out of Spring Tourney with Bad Back

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yokozuna Terunofuji, left, withdrew from the Spring tournament on Saturday, a day after being forced out by No. 3 maegashira Takanosho for his fourth loss in six days.

Just when things seemed to be going yokozuna Terunofuji’s way, the injury bug came back to bite the big Mongolian.

Terunofuji withdrew from the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday, a day after suffering his fourth loss six days into the competition at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

“His back is hurting and he can’t generate power,” stablemaster Isegahama said. “It won’t require surgery, and he will train to get back into shape.”

The stablemaster added that Terunofuji started claiming his condition was “severe” two days ago.

Terunofuji, currently the lone yokozuna in the rankings, has a long history of injuries, and most recently missed all or part of three consecutive tournaments starting with the Nagoya tourney in July last year.

He looked to have put it all in the past when he not only returned for the New Year tournament in January, but walked off with ninth Emperor’s Cup.

His loss of the tournament on Friday to No. 3 maegashira Takanosho marked the third straight match he had given up a “kinboshi” — awarded for a victory over a yokozuna — the first time that happened since Kakuryu did it in 2019.

Terunofuji did not speak to the media after the defeat.