Photo/IllutrationNew ozeki Tochinoshin, foreground, loses to komusubi Tamawashi in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on July 13, the sixth day of the competition. (Jun Ueda)

New ozeki Tochinoshin announced his withdrawal from the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on July 14, citing a right big toe injury he suffered when he lost to komusubi Tamawashi the previous day.

The 30-year-old Georgian notified the Japan Sumo Association the same day he was pulling out on the seventh day of the 15-day tournament under way at Dolphins Arena gymnasium.

Tochinoshin is the fourth top-tier wrestler to withdraw in the current competition. All three yokozuna, Kakuryu, Hakuho and Kisenosato, are sitting out the tournament due to injuries.

It is the first time in 19 years for all three yokozuna to be absent.

“A ligament was torn. If it improves, I want to return to the tournament. But I don’t want to put in a shameful sumo performance,” Tochinoshin told reporters early July 14.

Prior to his loss to Tamawashi on Day 6, Tochinoshin had won all his five bouts.

If he misses the rest of the tournament, Tochinoshin will become “kadoban” in the next tourney to be held in Tokyo in September.

That means he will be demoted from ozeki in the following tournament to be held in November if his losses exceed his wins.

Tochinoshin belongs to the Kasugano stable. He won the title in the new year tournament held in Tokyo in January. He was promoted to ozeki after the summer tourney held in Tokyo in May.

This year, Tochinoshin has notched up a total of 42 wins, the most among all wrestlers of the top makuuchi division.

Tochinoshin’s withdrawal was the seventh of his career and the first since the new year tournament of 2017.