Sumo - Mongolian 'bete noir' says he was forced to quit

TOKYO Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:59pm IST

Mongolian-born sumo grand champion Asashoryu reacts during a news conference in Tokyo February 4, 2010. REUTERS/Kyodo/Files

Mongolian-born sumo grand champion Asashoryu reacts during a news conference in Tokyo February 4, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Former firebrand sumo grand champion Asashoryu on Thursday denied accusations he broke a man's nose in a drunken fight.

The Mongolian, whose real name is Dolgorsurengiin Dagvadorj, also claimed his decision to quit sumo amid the furore was partly down to forces inside Japan's ancient sport who wanted him gone.

"I didn't commit an act of violence," the 29-year-old told a news conference in Ulan Bator. "But I don't regret my decision to retire from sumo."

The controversial "yokozuna" quit last month as the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) launched a probe into allegations of a drunken scuffle outside a Tokyo nightclub.

He did little to refuse the claims of conspiracy theorists who claimed he was pushed out before he could break the record for the number of Emperor's Cup victories.

"I don't want to bad-mouth the JSA but I wasn't happy with some of the things they said to me," said the 25-times Emperor's Cup winner, who refused to take questions from Japanese reporters.

"It is an undeniable fact that there were people trying to push me out of sumo. If I had gone on I would have won more than 30 titles."

Asashoryu finished with 25 major wins -- third on the all-time list behind Taiho, who won a record 32 tournaments between 1960 and 1971, and Chiyonofuji's 31.

His last title came at the New Year tournament in January, which turned out to be his last following reports of his alleged early morning punch-up during the event.

After his shock retirement he was quickly linked to a possible switch to Japan's K-1 kickboxing, which he has yet to confirm or deny.

(Writing by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo. Editing by Ed Osmond. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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