Ozeki Asanoyama withdrew from the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday after a weekly magazine reported he broke Japan Sumo Association coronavirus safety guidelines by dining out while under instructions to stay home.

As one of four wrestlers at the sport's second-highest rank, the 27-year-old has been sharing top billing at the tournament in the absence of injured grand champion Hakuho.

Asanoyama. (Kyodo) 

He had a 7-4 record through Day 11 of the 15-day competition at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan and will forfeit his scheduled bout against sekiwake Takayasu on Day 12.

Ozeki who fail to earn eight wins at a grand tournament enter their next meet as a demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki and must post a winning record to hold onto their rank.

Asanoyama went out with others to an establishment providing food, drinks and entertainment before the tournament, according to an online report from the Shukan Bunshun weekly.

A source with knowledge of the matter said the wrestler had admitted to breaking the rules under questioning from the JSA on Wednesday.

The JSA's director of communications, sumo elder Shibatayama, said Asanoyama had initially denied wrongdoing when questioned earlier by the JSA's compliance chief. The association will continue investigating before deciding how it will handle the matter.

Last July, Abi, then a wrestler in the elite makuuchi division, was found to have repeatedly broken the association's guidelines both before and during that month's tournament. He was suspended for three tournaments, and received a 50 percent pay cut for five months.

Another makuuchi division wrestler, Ryuden, is currently sitting out this tournament after running afoul of the coronavirus guidelines.

With multiple sumo stables having been hit by coronavirus outbreaks over the past year, the JSA has prioritized infection control.

A 28-year-old wrestler from the sport's fourth-highest division died in May last year after catching the virus, while a total of 28 wrestlers from outside the top two divisions were sidelined ahead of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in March after a pair of coaches were infected.

The May 9-23 grand tournament started behind closed doors amid a state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of Japan aimed at combating a spike in coronavirus infections. The JSA is currently admitting up to 5,000 spectators per day in line with government guidelines.

All JSA members tested negative for the virus before the start of the current tournament.

Related coverage:

Sumo: Asanoyama out of tourney after violating safety rules