Police have tightened security around a Tokyo sumo stable after detecting an online message suggesting a threat to kill Asashoryu, the Mongolian sumo champion, police officials said Tuesday.
Police suspect that the anonymous message written on an Internet bulletin board is a hoax and are investigating it on suspicion of threatening or obstruction of business of the Takasago stable in Sumida Ward, to which the wrestler belongs.
Police received a tip Sunday evening that there was such a threat on the Internet. Officers found a message saying, ''will go to Kokugikan (sumo wrestling hall) now to kill'' on the bulletin board system called 2 channel.
Asashoryu sat out part or all of the last three tournaments due to injuries, leading to speculation that he will be forced to retire if he got off to a slow start at the New Year meet.
The 28-year-old has won 22 Emperor's Cup's and is attempting to get back to his winning ways at the New Year tourney.
Asashoryu's antics both in and out of the ring have raised the ire of sumo traditionalists, who feel the cocky grand champion doesn't show enough respect for Japan's ancient sport.
In 2007, Asashoryu sat out a summer exhibition tournament because of injuries but was later caught on videotape playing in a charity football match in Mongolia.
The JSA slapped him with an unprecedented two-tournament suspension and a 30 percent cut in pay for four months.
There have also been allegations that he underreported his taxes and he was accused of being involved in a bout-rigging scandal by a tabloid-style weekly magazine last year.
Earlier in his career, Asashoryu was involved in a hair-pulling episode when he yanked the topknot of fellow Mongolian Kyokushuzan during a bout. Hair-pulling in sumo is akin to ear-biting in boxing, and never before had a grand champion lost a bout for resorting to it.
Sumo currently has only two grand champions. The other, Hakuho, is also from Mongolia.© Wire reports