Tue, Oct 07, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Sumo star Kotooshu accused of paying money to fix bouts

AFP , TOKYO

Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu, left, throws Bulgarian champion Kotooshu to the ground to win his 19th Emperor’s Cup at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka, Japan, on Nov. 25, 2006.

PHOTO: AFP

A magazine yesterday accused Bulgarian sumo star Kotooshu of fixing bouts as a scandal tainting the image of Japan’s ancient sport intensified.

Kotooshu, who in May became the first European to win a tournament but has since lost steam, flatly denied the allegations.

The Shukan Gendai weekly magazine published the new accusations just days after it was hauled to court in a libel case filed by the sumo establishment enraged by an earlier article on bout-fixing.

The magazine said the latest revelations came from Russian Soslan Gagloev, 20, who was expelled from the sumo world in August for marijuana possession and has since threatened to tell all about “evil” in the 2,000-year-old sport.

Kotooshu, whose real name is Kaloyan Mahlyanov, approached Gagloev three times this year, offering to pay money to win fights and threatening the Russian with a dangerous form of training if he refused, the story said.

Kotooshu, 25, considered to be a rapidly rising star, had been struggling with injuries and a sluggish showing during the March tournament this year.

“We are both Europeans. If you do this for me, I will never forget it. I will give you ¥1 million (US$9,700). I am OK with even 1.5 million. Please help,” Kotooshu told Gagloev, the magazine said.

Gagloev said he threw victories to Kotooshu in tournaments in May — when the Bulgarian won his historic trophy — and in July. Kotooshu pulled out of the March tournament because of injuries.

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