Berliner Tageblatt - Sumo great Hakuho facing demotion over protege's alleged bullying

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Sumo great Hakuho facing demotion over protege's alleged bullying
Sumo great Hakuho facing demotion over protege's alleged bullying / Photo: © AFP

Sumo great Hakuho facing demotion over protege's alleged bullying

Sumo's greatest champion Hakuho is facing an embarrassing demotion in his new role as stablemaster after his protege was accused of physically abusing other wrestlers, local media said.

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Hakuho, who won a record 45 tournaments before retiring in 2021, is set to be fined and downgraded to the lowest rank for sumo elders for failing to control the behaviour of Hokuseiho, the reports said.

After dismissal and a recommendation to retire, demotion in rank is seen as the most serious punishment for sumo elders.

The 22-year-old Hokuseiho, who stands 204 centimetres (six feet eight inches), is alleged to have punched his lower-ranked stablemates and stolen money from them.

The reports say the Japan Sumo Association will discuss a recommendation that Hokuseiho retires from the ancient sport at an emergency board meeting on Friday.

The JSA will also decide a punishment for Hakuho, who reportedly told a JSA compliance committee meeting on Wednesday that he was unaware of Hokuseiho's actions.

Mongolian-born Hakuho, 38, took over his stable in July 2022 and assumed the sumo elder name Miyagino.

Hokuseiho, who was also born in Mongolia and moved to Japan as a child, is willing to accept the recommendation to retire, local media said.

He pulled out of the latest sumo tournament in January on the sixth day with a knee injury.

S.Keller--BTB