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Thursday, March 15, 2001

Kaio moves to 4-0

OSAKA -- Ozeki Kaio stormed to a perfect 4-0 record at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday, while yokozuna pair Takanohana and Musashimaru bounced back convincingly after shock defeats 24 hours earlier.

Kaio retained his share of the lead after tying up Tochinonada (2-2) at the charge and then sending the sekiwake sprawling back across the raised ring with a right-handed throw to continue his hot streak in the 15-day tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

No. 2 maegashira Chiyotenzan, eighth-ranked Tosanoumi and veteran Terao also remained unbeaten to finish the day in a tie for the lead with Kaio.

Takanohana was in no mood to lose for a second day running and mugged Koto-mitsuki (1-3) at the charge before plastering the No. 3 maegashira onto the dirt surface with an arm throw to move to 3-1. Meanwhile, Musashimaru made short work of Mongolian No. 5 maegashira Kyokushuzan, who dug into his bag of tricks but came up empty against the Samoan-born giant and was quickly driven out in the day's final bout.

Dejima thought he had done enough to preserve his unbeaten record after barging out No. 1 maegashira Kotoryu (1-3), but the ringside judges ruled that the ozeki had hit the deck first, leaving Kaio out alone among the elite sanyaku wrestlers.

A losing record in the New Year tourney means Dejima must post a majority of wins in Osaka to retain his ozeki rank. Top-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho caused a mini upset for his first win of the tourney as the Mongolian grappler hauled down ozeki Musoyama, who slipped out of a tie for the lead with his first loss.

Struggling ozeki Miyabiyama caught a lucky break when No. 2 maegashira Hayateumi stepped out of the ring.

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