Asanoyama, a sumo wrestler at the sport's second-highest rank of ozeki, will sit out the remainder of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament after admitting he had broken Japan Sumo Association coronavirus safety guidelines, a source with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday.
The 27-year-old wrestler, who currently has a 7-4 record, sat for questioning by the association for a second time on Wednesday regarding a report on weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun's website that described his infractions.
The report alleged that Asanoyama had dined out with others prior to the tournament when association members were under orders to stay home. According to the JSA's director of communications, sumo elder Shibatayama, Asanoyama denied doing so when first questioned by the JSA's compliance chief.
A source familiar with the matter, however, said the ozeki wrestler revised his stance upon further questioning on Wednesday.
Ozeki wrestlers who fail to win eight bouts in a tournament -- a fate that now appears likely for Asanoyama -- are referred to as "kadoban" ozeki and are in jeopardy of relegation to the sport's third-highest rank, sekiwake, should they fail to win eight bouts in the following grand tournament.
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.