Photo/IllutrationYokozuna Harumafuji leaves his sumo stable's temporary quarters in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Nov. 14. (Kengo Hiyoshi)

  • Photo/Illustraion

FUKUOKA--Yokozuna Harumafuji on Nov. 14 apologized for a drunken beating of a fellow Mongolian sumo wrestler that fractured his skull, caused a concussion and forced him to miss the grand tournament here.

The beating occurred on Oct. 26 during a training-promotional event for the sport. The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) is investigating the incident.

“I offer my deepest apologies for the tremendous amount of trouble I have caused to stablemaster Takanohana, the fans and supporters of the Takanohana stable, the sumo association and my own stablemaster,” Harumafuji, 33, told reporters after a morning practice session.

According to sources, a sumo exhibition was held Oct. 26 in Tottori city as part of a circuit tour that is both a training session as well as an opportunity for sumo fans in outlying regions to observe their favorite wrestlers outside of a tournament setting.

Harumafuji became drunk at a gathering of sumo wrestlers and attacked Takanoiwa, 27, a maegashira No. 8 who belongs to the Takanohana stable.

After the circuit tour concluded, Takanoiwa entered a hospital in Fukuoka city on Nov. 5 and stayed there until Nov. 9.

He is sitting out the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament that began here on Nov. 12.

Harumafuji also disclosed on Nov. 14 that he has withdrawn from the tournament. The grand champion won the Emperor’s Cup at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament held in Tokyo in September, but he lost his first two bouts at the Kyushu tournament.

The JSA on Nov. 13 released the doctor’s diagnosis for Takanoiwa that included a wide range of injuries to his head area, including a concussion, skull fractures and trauma to the ear.

The diagnosis said two weeks of medical care would be required for the injuries to heal completely.

JSA officials on Nov. 14 questioned Isegahama, Harumafuji’s stablemster, as well as Takanohana, Takanoiwa’s stablemaster.

As of Nov. 13, Isegahama has refrained from commenting on whether Harumafuji actually beat up the younger wrestler.

Takanohana only said to reporters: “It is as written in the diagnosis form. (Takanoiwa) has said he is not feeling well. I have nothing further to add.”

Harumafuji and Isegahama visited the Fukuoka base of the Takanohana stable in Tagawa, but were unable to make a direct apology to Takanoiwa.

Takanohana departed before the two arrived, and other stablemates did not know where Takanoiwa was.