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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

JSA chairman mum on latest allegations

Kyodo News

Japan Sumo Association Chairman Kitanoumi declined to comment Monday regarding an article in weekly tabloid magazine Shukan Gendai claiming that ozeki Hakuho's stable elder played the role of mediator in fixing matches.

In the magazine that hit newsstands the same day, Shukan Gendai alleges that Hakuho's stable elder, Miyagino, confessed to an unidentified female acquaintance that he approached wrestlers, including yokozuna Asashoryu and ozeki Hakuho, at the Nagoya meet last year about rigging bouts.

What's more, the conversation between Miyagino, a former juryo wrestler previously called Kanechika, has been recorded on tape, the magazine said.

"I have not spoken to a (legal) expert about this, so I will decline comment," said Kitanoumi.

At the meet in question, Mongolian-born Hakuho was gunning for a promotion to grand champion but his dream was put on hold, despite beating Asashoryu on the final day and notching 13 wins. Asashoryu took that title with a 14-1 record.

Miyagino was also tight-lipped on the matter, saying, "I have no response."

Hakuho did not comment.

The JSA is currently involved in a lawsuit seeking damages from the magazine's publisher for defamation for previous articles printed in Shukan Gendai that alleged match fixing.

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