Photo/IllutrationYokozuna Harumafuji bows as he announces his retirement in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Nov. 29. (Tetsuro Takehana)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Retiring yokozuna Harumafuji apologized on Nov. 29 for beating and injuring fellow wrestler Takanoiwa in Tottori during a drinking outing on a circuit tour in October, calling his actions "excessive."

“As a yokozuna, I thought his manners were not good. I thought it was his superiors’ duty to rectify the (inappropriate) manners. But while I meant to scold him, I injured him, caused a stir in society and gave troubles to my fans and the Japan Sumo Association. My actions were excessive,” Harumafuji said in a news conference in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

“I’m really sorry for people who have supported me,” he added.

Harumafuji, who belonged to the Isegahama stable, submitted a letter of retirement to the JSA earlier in the day. The letter was accepted.

Harumafuji, 33, and Takanoiwa, 27, a maegashira No. 8, are both from Mongolia.

A supporter of the Isegahama stable revealed that Harumafuji had called around 1 a.m. on Nov. 29 and indicated his intent to retire.

“I’m exhausted. I can’t endure it mentally anymore,” the supporter quoted Harumafuji as saying.

The supporter, who has frequently talked with Harumafuji over the phone during the past two weeks or so, also said, “Harumafuji has lost vitality day by day.”

Harumafuji, who was promoted to yokozuna in 2012, is retiring with nine Emperor's Cup titles, his final coming in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo in September.

Harumafuji became the fourth yokozuna to retire from the sport amid scandal in postwar history. In 2010, Asashoryu retired after allegations he had attacked an acquaintance.

Tottori police plan to send Harumafuji’s case to prosecutors on suspicion of assault in early December, at the earliest, sources said.

Harumafuji on Nov. 14 admitted he had beaten Takanoiwa. The same day, he pulled out of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka Prefecture, after starting the 15-day tournament with two losses.

Hakkaku, chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, and Isegahama, Harumafuji’s stablemaster, had discussed what to do several times.

Members of the JSA’s Yokozuna Deliberation Council, who met on Nov. 27 after the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, called on the association to take harsh disciplinary action against Harumafuji.