Sumo-Wrestler's retirement offer rejected despite breaking COVID-19 rules


  • Wrestling
  • Friday, 07 Aug 2020

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese Sumo Association (JSA) has rejected wrestler Abi Masatora's offer to retire but has banned him from the next three tournaments after he broke coronavirus restrictions by visiting bars.

The 26-year-old offered to retire earlier this week after he was found to have visited hostess bars on two occasions, once before and once during the most recent Grand Sumo Tournament.

However, the JSA said after a board meeting on Thursday that they had declined his offer, instead banning him for three tournaments and halving his pay for the next five months.

Abi, whose real name is Kosuke Horikiri, has since tested negative for COVID-19, Kyodo News reported.

The 26-year-old made his professional debut in 2016 and has reached sumo’s fourth-highest rank of komusubi.

Terunofuji won the July tournament held at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, which has been kept to a quarter capacity because of the virus. It was the first tournament held in four months following the cancellation of May’s event due to the pandemic.

The tournament was also moved from its usual location in Nagoya to reduce necessary travel during the pandemic.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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