Singer Sir Paul McCartney has thrown his support behind a Japanese sumo wrestling event by sponsoring it.

The former Beatle has been a fan of the sport for several years and he recently paid for the sleeve of his new album, New, to be emblazoned on flags during the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in the city of Fukuoka.

MCCartney, who attended the finale this week (begs25Nov13) with his wife Nancy and an entourage, says, "I like sumo, I got hooked on it many years ago."

His spokesperson tells, "Bizarrely MACca (MCCartney) really got into Sumo Wrestling when he first toured Japan in 1993. He took his crew to one of the matches when they were over there recently and was explaining to everyone the rules and the scoring and how it all worked.

"Between rounds traditionally dressed Japanese people were carrying New album cover artwork on bamboo billboards around the stadium."