Grand champion Kisenosato has decided to retire as a sumo wrestler after suffering his third loss of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, his stablemaster said Jan. 16.
The 32-year-old, who went into the 15-day tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan with his career in jeopardy, decided to close the curtain on his career after posting a 0-3 record.
“While I was happy to see him promoted to yokozuna, I could tell from seeing him up close that he was struggling,” his stablemaster Tagonoura said. “His two years (as yokozuna) passed so quickly.”
Kisenosato lost to komusubi Mitakeumi on the opening day, Jan. 13. He was handed his second and third upsets by top-ranked maegashira Ichinojo and Tochiozan.
Not counting his forfeit on Day 5 of November’s Kyushu meet, Kisenosato has posted eight straight losses since September, the worst run for a yokozuna since the 15-day grand tournament format began in the summer of 1949.
In January 2017, Kisenosato became the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank, and won his second straight championship on his yokozuna debut at the following tournament in March.
Nagging injuries, however, prevented him from completing a yokozuna-record eight straight grand tournaments, raising questions over his ability to continue his career as a grand champion. (Kyodo)