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Sunday, June 10, 2001

Mitoizumi has topknot removed

Former sekiwake Mitoizumi of the Takasago stable had his topknot removed Saturday in a ceremony that saw a record 470 officials, patrons and wrestlers take a snip of his hair at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Stablemaster Takasago made the final cut to remove the topknot of the 38-year-old Mitoizumi, whose lone championship in the elite makuuchi division came at the 1992 Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament as a top maegashira.

Mitoizumi, who assumes the name of sumo elder Nishikido, was a fan favorite for years with his huffing and puffing before a match and his habit of throwing a large handful of salt as high as he could over the ring before the start of each day's bout.

"Now I will be on the support side. Teaching sumo will be difficult, but I will study hard and do my best," said Mitoizumi, who will continue coaching at the Takasago stable.

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