Sumo Champion Harumafuji Assaults Junior Wrestler (News)

Sumo Grand Champion Harumafuji is suspected of assaulting and injuring fellow wrestler Takanoiwa last month by hitting him with a beer bottle, according to a media report.

Harumafuji, who holds sumo's highest ranking of yokozuna, appeared on Japanese television to acknowledge his role in the incident and express his remorse.

Harumafuji and his stable master, Isegahama, were questioned by association executives on Tuesday.

That case exposed a culture of bullying and hazing within the ancient sport's strict hierarchy.

Wrestlers are not even allowed to express emotions when they win as this is seen as inconsiderate to the loser.

A link between the injury and the allegation is not confirmed, added Taniguchi, as officials are still investigating the matter.

Weighing in at 137kg (300lb), Harumafuji is considered a relatively small sumo wrestler, and is lauded for his technique in the ring.

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Speaking to reporters in Fukuoka, where a tournament that was supposed to feature both wrestlers is taking place, Harumafuji said: "I sincerely apologize for causing trouble".

In 2016, a stable master and wrestler were made to pay almost $300,000 (£230,000) to a wrestler allegedly abused so badly that he lost sight in one eye, according to reports.

It happened at a party of sumo wrestlers from Mongolia.

A stable master who struck the teen with a beer bottle was sentenced to five years in jail for negligence resulting in death.

In 2010, then-yokozuna Asashoryu, also from Mongolia, retired from the sport after allegations he had attacked a man outside a Tokyo nightclub during a tournament.

The grand champion apologised publicly but did not confirm the circumstances of the incident.

But he too fanned the flames of a row over sumo etiquette in 2015 when he was annoyed at being ordered to repeat a bout deemed too close to call, letting rip at the decision.

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