According to sources familiar with the situation, Harumafuji, a nine-time tournament victor, was drinking with a group of around 10 sumo wrestlers in late October during a regional tour in Tottori, western Japan, when the yokozuna, angered by Takanoiwa's attitude, struck him with a beer bottle.
November 14 (Jiji Press)-Yokozuna sumo grand champion Harumafuji has assaulted a junior wrestler, it was learned Tuesday.
Both wrestlers are from Mongolia and the incident reportedly occurred during a party with other Mongolian wrestlers.
Harumafuji's stable master Seiya Isegahama told reporters that the grand champion would visit the victim's stable later on Tuesday to offer a personal apology.
Takanoiwa, the eighth-ranked maegashira, was diagnosed with a concussion, a fracture at the base of his skull and a cerebrospinal fluid leak among other injuries, and hospitalized from November 5 to 9.
Harumafuji also began the process to pull out of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, where he was to compete for a 10th career title, Japan Times reported.
"I sincerely apologize for causing trouble", Harumafuji told reporters in Fukuoka, a southern Japanese city where the Kyushu Grand Sumo tournament is now being held.
The incident is the latest scandal to rock the sport of sumo in recent years following investigations into hazing and match-fixing. In 2007, for instance, three wrestlers and a stable master were arrested for beating a 17-year-old junior wrestler to death.
The ancient sport has an extremely strict protocol, and yokozuna are expected to be beyond moral reproach in addition to showing superior strength and technique in the ring. Fighters are not supposed to show emotion after a win so they aren't inconsiderate to the losers. The stable master has already reported the incident to police, Kyodo news agency said.
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