Sumo champ Asashoryu in drinking assault claims; governments calls for investigation

TOKYO — Allegations that sumo grand champion Asashoryu assaulted a man during a late-night drinking session have prompted Japan's sports minister to call for an investigation by the Japan Sumo Association.

"The association is responsible for Japan's national sport," Sports Minister Tatsuo Kawabata said Friday. "This must be dealt with appropriately. If the reports are true, it's deplorable."

Weekly magazine Friday reported last week that Asashoryu was intoxicated after leaving an establishment and hit an acquaintance.

However, weekly magazine Shukan Shincho reported Thursday that the actual man attacked was in charge of a dance club where the Mongolian had been drinking.

The man's injuries reportedly included a broken nose, lacerations of the lip and bruises to the back of his head.

Asashoryu, 29, claimed the man was his manager and has apologized for the incident, saying that alcohol was the cause.

The JSA said Thursday it will demand an explanation from Asashoryu.

The 29-year-old Mongolian has often been criticized for not living up to the standards of a sumo grand champion in a sport associated closely with Japanese traditional culture.

In 2007, he became the first grand champion ever suspended when it was revealed he participated in a soccer game in Mongolia despite citing injury to skip tournaments. In 2003, he pulled an opponent's top knot during a bout, resulting in an immediate disqualification.

Source:Associated Press News Agency
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