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Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2001

Injuries force Akebono into retirement

Yokozuna Akebono, sumo's first foreign-born grand champion, indicated Monday at a meeting with Japan Sumo Association Chairman Tokitsukaze that he will retire from the ring.

Akebono and stablemaster Azumazeki called on the JSA chief to discuss the future of the 31-year-old yokozuna, who has been sidelined repeatedly with knee and other injuries.

Monday's decision came less than 24 hours after Akebono denied rumors of his retirement that had been circulating since he announced earlier in the month that he would sit out the just-concluded New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Akebono's decision to retire also comes as a shock after the Hawaii-born grand champion wrestled in all six major tournaments in 2000 for the first time in seven years and notched his 10th and 11th career championships.

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The Japan Times

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