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Record-setting sumo wrestler Kaio to retire

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Tuesday, July 19, 2011 photo, sumo wrestler Kaio gestures with one's hand before a match against Kotooshu of the Nagoya Grand Sumo tournament in Nagoya, central Japan. Just days after setting the record for the most wins in sumo, veteran wrestler Kaio announced his retirement Wednesday, July 20. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, FRANCE, HONG KONG, JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA
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NAGOYA, Japan >> Just days after setting the record for the most wins in sumo, veteran wrestler Kaio announced his retirement Wednesday.

He made the announcement on the 11th day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo tournament after falling to a win-loss record of 3-7 on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old Kaio beat Mongolian Kyokutenho last Thursday to post his 1,046th career win, surpassing former grand champion Chiyonofuji for most wins.

The setting of a new record was a welcome return of the sumo spotlight to events inside the ring rather than the gambling and corruption scandal which had blighted the sport in recent times.

Kaio began his sumo career in 1988 and appeared in a total of 65 tournaments at ozeki, sumo’s second-highest rank.

His poor record at the Nagoya tournament meant he would have needed to win his remaining five bouts to avoid facing demotion at the autumn meet in September.

“I talked to my coach Monday and we discussed retirement if I lost on Tuesday,” said Kaio. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet but I have no regrets.”

Since 2005, Kaio suffered from various injuries and rumors of retirement surfaced whenever he struggled in a tournament. He won a total of five Emperor’s Cups.

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