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Friday, Aug. 23, 2002

Takanohana promises return in fall

Yokozuna Takanohana, facing calls for retirement if he does not wrestle in next month's fall tourney, told his fan club Wednesday that he is ready to get back onto the raised ring after more than a year's absence.

The Futagoyama stable grand champion has missed the last seven sumo tournaments with a nagging knee injury and was advised by the Yokozuna Deliberation Council last month to wrestle or retire.

"For a long time, I have caused you to worry, but I'm excited about the tournament in September," Takanohana told his fans at a reception at a Tokyo hotel.

"I will do my best to wrestle in a way in which you will be moved." Stable master Futagoyama added: "His physical condition has returned and I'm convinced that that he can wrestle with positive results."

Takanohana has been practicing since July 31, but has only wrestled three days against lower-ranked opponents in the stable.

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The Japan Times

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