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Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006

Wrestler quits after punching rival

A 40-year-old wrestler who used to belong to sumo's second-tier division said Tuesday he will hang up his mawashi after getting into hot water for punching his opponent after a bout at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Kotokanyu, a former juryo-division rikishi from Hokkaido who currently wrestles in the third makushita division, submitted retirement papers the same day to the Japan Sumo Association, stable elder Sadogatake said.

Kotokanyu punched his opponent Ikioi in the face on Sunday while in the locker room at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, apparently upset after losing his bout to the 19-year-old.

Kotokanyu, who is currently the longest-serving wrestler in sumo, had planned to retire at the end of the Autumn basho after wrestling for 25 years since his debut in 1981, but has been forced to call it quits after the incident.

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