Sumo Wrestler Breaks Rival’s Skull In A Bar Fight

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Not that you should need to be reminded, but in case you do: Don’t, under any circumstances, mess with a sumo wrestler. One of the best sumo wrestlers in the world, Harumafuji Kōhei, recently sent rival Takanoiwa Yoshimori to the hospital by breaking his skull—outside the ring.

Harumafuji is a yokozuna, the sport’s highest rank. In the history of the sumo wrestling, there have been just 72 yokozunas, with only 22 of those holding the title in the past 50 years.

According to sumo blog Tachiai, the incident occurred at a bar in Tottori, Japan, where both Mongolian sumo wrestlers were attending an after party that followed a dinner gathering:

Harumafuji took exception to the greeting he was given by Takanoiwa, which he deemed was insufficient, and started berating him, when Takanoiwa’s smartphone, stuck in his obi, started ringing. As Takanoiwa attempted to answer the call, the Yokozuna exclaimed “Not when somebody is talking to you!”, took a beer bottle and smashed it on the right side of Takanoiwa’s forehead. Takanoiwa fell down bleeding, and the Yokozuna dropped on top of him and continued to deliver some additional 20-30 blows with his bare hands, while Takanoiwa tried to fend him off.

Okay, so maybe “fight” isn’t the right way to describe this. Sounds a little more like a one-sided, uncalled-for beatdown.

Takanoiwa received medical attention that night, October 26, but would check himself into into a hospital on November 5 and stay there for five days to treat a concussion and a fractured skull, among other ailments.

The injuries could end Takanoiwa’s career. Harumafuji’s is in jeopardy as well.

“Regarding Takanoiwa’s injury, I sincerely apologize for causing trouble to his stablemaster, his stable, the Japan Sumo Association and my stablemaster,” Harumafuji said. “I cannot comment further until my stablemaster comes back.”

On Tuesday, the sumo wrestler withdrew from the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament. He’s expected to resign his rank and exit the world of sumo wrestling due to damage to his reputation.