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Japanese sumo council calls for ‘harsh punishment’ for wrestler Harumafuji

Published: Updated:

The Yokozuna Deliberation Council has asked the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) to hand out an “extremely harsh punishment” to “yokozuna” (grand champion) Harumafuji for an alleged assault on a junior wrestler, Kyodo news agency reported on Monday.

The chairman of the advisory body, which makes recommendations to the JSA over the promotion of grand champions in sumo’s elite division also criticised fellow yokozuna Hakuho, who publicly called for Harumafuji to return to the ring.

Harumafuji apologized this month after media reported that he had pounded junior wrestler Takanoiwa with his bare fists and with a beer bottle while drinking at a restaurant-bar with other wrestlers last month.

Takanoiwa did not take part in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament due to a fracture, concussion and other injuries, according to the JSA. Harumafuji withdrew early in the competition after reports of the assault emerged.

“Tremendous damage has been caused (to sumo). It let fans down,” Masato Kitamura, chairman of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, was quoted as saying by Kyodo on Monday.

Police are investigating the incident after former grand champion Takanohana, who is Takanoiwa’s coach and stable master, filed a complaint.