Lone ozeki Takakeisho pulled out of the ongoing Spring Grand Sumo Tournament with a left knee injury Saturday, ending his bid for a second straight championship and promotion to yokozuna.
With sole yokozuna Terunofuji skipping the entire 15-day meet at Edion Arena Osaka, it becomes the first grand tournament in the postwar period to be contested without wrestlers from the sport's top two ranks.
Takakeisho, who lost to third-ranked maegashira Mitakeumi on Friday, will forfeit Saturday's scheduled bout against No. 3 Nishikigi, leaving the ozeki with a 3-4 record.
The three-time champion in the elite makuuchi division hurt his knee during his win against former ozeki Shodai on Day 3 and further aggravated it while battling Mitakeumi.
According to his stablemaster Tokiwayama, the 26-year-old Takakeisho will not return to the meet, meaning he will go into the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament beginning May 14 as a
demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki for the sixth time in his career.
"His face might not show it, but he's more frustrated than anyone," Tokiwayama said.
The injury-prone Terunofuji is missing his third straight grand tournament in its entirety to focus on recuperating from surgery he underwent on both knees last October.