Shamed sumo champ breaks silence

Asashoryu speaks after going from hero to zero after 25th top title win in January.

    Asashoryu announced his retirement in a tearful address in February [AFP] 

    The beginning of the end for one of the greatest wrestlers in sumo's 2,000-year history began with an alleged assault on a Tokyo man outside a nightclub in January.

    The end of the end comes in October, when grand champion Asashoryu will have the top-knot of his hair formally cut off to signal the end of his status as an honourable 'yokozuna' – the highest sumo rank.

    After fleeing for a Hawaiian golfing holiday when he resigned in February, Asashoryu broke his silence in Japanese media reports on Sunday.

    The 29-year-old Mongolian, whose birth name is Dolgorsurengiin Dagvadorj, was dressed in a suit and tie to make his first public comments since his retirement on February 4.

    "I'm Asashoryu – or was," he said.

    "I regret that while winning a lot of Emperor's Cups I also caused trouble."

    Beating

    Asashoryu, who was frequently in hot water during his controversial career, abruptly retired from the ancient sport last month following reports of a drunken beating outside a Tokyo nightclub.

    Sumo officials launched a probe into the allegations, prompting his decision to step down rather than face the humiliation of being fired.

    "Thanks largely to your support I was able to win 25 Emperor's Cups," he told members of his former gym.

    "I'm 30 this year and will do my best in my second life."

    Referring to a potentially awkward formal retirement ceremony, in which wrestlers have the top-knot of their hair snipped, on October 3, the Mongolian hardman said: "I would humbly like to ask for your support one last time."

    The 150kg Asashoryu was alleged to have left a man with a broken nose, split lip and heavy bruising following a night of hard drinking during his latest Emperor's Cup victory – the highest prize in sumo – on January 16.

    He has been linked in local media with a possible future in Japan's K-1 kickboxing.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?