Sumo star fractures wrestler's skull with beer bottle

Nine-time sumo grand champion "Harumafuji" of Mongolia has been accused of attacking a lower-ranked wrestler with a bottle of beer.

Nine-time grand champion Mongolian wrestler Harumafuji, 33, has apologised for "causing trouble".

"I deeply apologize for having caused so much trouble to stablemaster Takanohana, supporters of the Taka-nohana stable, the Japan Sumo Association as well as my stablemaster", Harumafuji said about causing various injuries to Takanoiwa.

Japanese media report the incident occurred during a drinking session. He struck Takanoiwa as he did not like his attitude, the report said.

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But he deflected further questions to the "stable master" who runs the camp.

Takanoiwa, who belongs to the Takanohana stable and has been absent from the tournament from the first day, submitted to the Japan Sumo Association a doctor's report confirming his injuries, including skull base fracture, that take two weeks to heal completely.

Weighing in at 137kg (300lb), Harumafuji is considered a relatively small sumo wrestler, and is lauded for his technique in the ring.

Another Mongolian grand champion Hakuho, seen as a gentle giant, has nearly single-handedly restored the sport's good name.

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Wrestlers are expected to not show emotion after a victory and a rigid hierarchy exists.

In 2007, a teenage novice died after being beaten up by older wrestlers, with the stable master subsequently jailed for five years over the abuse.

Last year, a wrestler and his stable master were reportedly ordered to pay more than $287,000 to a fellow grappler for daily abuse that led to the loss of sight in one of the victim's eyes.

Violent treatment of apprentices and junior wrestlers in the name of training had always been seen as par for the course at sumo stables, but the sport is now struggling to oust such customs. A match-fixing scandal followed in 2011.

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Currently, the majority of yokozuna hail from Mongolia and Eastern Europe.

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