Yokozuna Terunofuji's withdrawal from the upcoming Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament was confirmed Friday, less than a month after he underwent endoscopic surgery on both knees.
The Mongolian-born grand champion is currently the only wrestler occupying sumo's top rank, and his absence leaves a pair of ozeki, Takakeisho and demotion-threatened Shodai, sharing top billing for the 15-day tournament starting Sunday at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Terunofuji has been plagued by knee problems throughout his decorated career, and injuries to both knees forced him to pull out during the second week of the September meet in Tokyo.
It will be the third time that the 30-year-old, who had the surgery on Oct. 18, has missed all or part of a grand sumo tournament since his yokozuna debut in September 2021.
The seven-time grand tournament winner will finish the year with just one title. The Kyushu meet is the sixth and last tournament of 2022.