Ozeki Kirishima Pulls Out of Summer Tourney, Faces Demotion

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Ozeki Kirishima, left, is pushed out by No. 1 maegashira Atamifuji on Tuesday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

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

Kirishima was competing under kadoban status, meaning he needs a majority of wins at the Summer tourney to retain his rank, after he finished the previous tournament with a 5-10 record after being hampered by a neck injury

The Mongolian 28-year-old started the tourney at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan with losses on five of the first six days. Assuming he does not return to action, he will be assured of the losing record that will clinch a demotion to sekiwake after six tournaments as ozeki.

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

Kirishima won his first career title at last year’s Spring tournament while wrestling as a sekiwake under his original ring name of Kiribayama. He changed his name after his promotion to ozeki after the following Summer tournament, and won a second championship later in the year at the Kyushu tournament.

Kirishima’s withdrawal comes after both yokozuna Terunofuji and ozeki Takakeisho pulled out after the first day.