Photo/IllutrationKisenosato talks with reporters after his withdrawal from the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on July 5. (Tomohiko Kaneko)

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Hobbled yokozuna Kisenosato will skip the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament and set a record of failing to complete eight straight tournaments as a grand champion, stablemaster Tagonoura said on July 5.

Kisenosato, 32, will instead try to get into top form for the following tournament, where his performance is expected to determine whether he will remain a yokozuna or be forced to retire from the sport.

“I was aware (of that possibility) when I prepared for the Nagoya tournament,” Kisenosato said on July 5. “I will stake everything on the following tournament.”

The Nagoya tournament will start on July 8.

Kisenosato had already matched the record of seven straight unfinished tournaments by a yokozuna since the current system of six tournaments a year was introduced in 1958.

Kisenosato, a yokozuna for nine tournaments, has made it to the end of only the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in 2017, his first after he was promoted to the top rank.

He was injured on the left chest and arm in that tournament, and he is still struggling to fully recover.

His lack of action in the ring is also believed to have degraded his abilities.

Takanohana withdrew from seven straight 15-day tournaments as yokozuna following the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in 2001.

After that streak, the Japan Sumo Association’s Yokozuna Deliberation Council in 2002 adopted a resolution requiring Takanohana to appear in the ring.

However, the current council, chaired by Masato Kitamura, showed no signs that such a measure would be taken against Kisenosato.

“I want him to come back to the tournament after getting into top shape,” Kitamura has said.

Kisenosato is the first Japan-born yokozuna since Takanohana retired in 2003.