Japanese Sumo Wrestlers admit to fixing Matches
For the first time in Japanese sumo wrestling history, active wrestlers have admitted to fixing matches. The three wrestlers who admitted to fixing matches have brought a longstanding problem to the forefront.
Previously, a few sumo wrestlers have admitted to fixing matches after they were retired including Keisuke Itai, who broke sumo match fixing wide open when he admitted to throwing matches from 1978-1991. However, the Japan Sumo Association didn’t devote a whole lot of attention to Itai’s confessions by saying that it wasn’t a long-term problem.
But there was no denying the sports’ problems in the later half of the decade when drugs, mob extortion and the death of a bullied rookie sumo wrestler rocked the sport. In 2010, sumo wrestling received another black eye when numerous wrestlers admitted to gambling on baseball through crooked sportsbooks that had mob ties. Of course, the latest admissions by the three sumo wrestlers who say they’ve been throwing matches could be an even bigger blow than all of this combined.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan was quick to comment on the issue by saying, “If there really was bout-fixing, it would be a grave act of betrayal against the Japanese people.” He has also urged the Japan Sumo Association to launch a lengthy investigation into the matter to determine whether or not this is an even bigger problem.
The fixed matches are said to have occurred in the Juryo circuit, which is the lowest paid sumo class since wrestlers only earn $12,000 a year. Those who drop below the Juryo class usually don’t receive any pay, which is one primary motive for fixing matches. Seeing as how lower classes don’t receive money, authorities believe that the wrestlers fixed matches to guarantee that they all would receive wins and not drop down.
Unfortunately, this has affected Japanese sports bettors, and given sumo wrestling yet another ugly incident.