Ozeki Takayasu withdrew from the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday, joining the mounting casualty list of top makuuchi division wrestlers.
The 27-year-old at sumo's second-highest rank injured his right thigh in Monday's loss against komusubi Tamawashi and has decided to pull out of the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan, forfeiting his third-day bout against Hokutofuji.
Fourth-ranked maegashira Ura has also withdrawn citing a knee injury as the casualty list that already includes three yokozuna -- Kisenosato, Kakuryu and Hakuho -- lengthens, with Harumafuji as the only grand champion competing.
It is the second time Takayasu has pulled out of a tournament, the first since the 2015 fall basho. His withdrawal leaves him no choice but to try to fight off demotion as a "kadoban" ozeki at the November meet in Fukuoka.
"He was training hard before the basho, so I'm sure he's more disappointed than anyone else," said Takyasu's stablemaster Tagonoura, who also manages Kisenosato.
"I hope this frustration drives him to make himself even stronger and do well in the next tournament."
Ura, 25, aggravated the right knee injury he sustained at the Nagoya tournament in July during his loss to Takakeisho on Monday. He forfeits Tuesday's scheduled bout against Ichinojo.
His stablemaster Kise was not as sympathetic as Tagonoura, saying the wrestler himself is to blame.
"His injury isn't serious enough to have surgery or anything like that. He lacked training and I'm terribly sorry to the fans," Kise said.
"He has to change his attitude and mechanics because he won't be competent doing what he has been doing until now. It's a good learning experience for him."
The last time three yokozuna and an ozeki pulled out from a single tournament was 18 years ago, when yokozuna Takanohana, Wakanohana and Akebono, and ozeki Chiyotaikai withdrew from the spring tourney.
Five wrestlers had pulled out before this meet got under way Sunday -- two maegashira Sadanoumi and Aoiyama, in addition to the yokozuna trio.
The seven absences here are the most at any one tournament in sumo's top flight since the 2005 Nagoya meet, excluding the six who were scratched from the 2010 basho in Nagoya for their involvement in illegal baseball gambling.