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Saturday, March 17, 2001

Kaio keeps record unblemished

Ozeki Kaio posted another convincing win to preserve his unbeaten record six days into the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday, while yokozuna pair Takanohana and Musashimaru kept the pressure on the leader with their fifth wins.

Kaio shook off a weak challenge at the face-off with Kotoryu (1-5) and quickly locked onto the arm of the top maegashira, dumping him out of the ring at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium for his sixth straight win of the 15-day tournament.

Musashimaru, Takanohana and ozeki Musoyama are bunched in the pack chasing Kaio along with rank-and-filers Tamanoshima and Otsukasa, all with five wins against one loss.

Local favorite Chiyotenzan proved to be a difficult customer for Takanohana in the day's penultimate bout, but the grand champion, looking for his second straight Emperor's Cup, held steady before ushering the No. 2 maegashira out of the ring.

Musashimaru, meanwhile, used his trademark bear hug to muscle out second-ranked maegashira Hayateumi, who left the ring nursing a 2-4 record.

Musoyama quickly disposed of former ozeki Takanonami (2-4) as he bolted out of his crouch and plowed the third-ranked maegashira over the straw bales for the win.

Musoyama's Musashigawa stablemate Miyabiyama, however, failed to find his killer touch again and allowed komusubi Tochiazuma (2-4) to make a mockery of his higher-ranked opponent, countering from the ring's edge to barge the ozeki out to his fourth loss of the tournament.

Ozeki Dejima, meanwhile, watched his 3-0 winning start evaporate with a third defeat in as many days after losing his footing and allowing third-ranked Kotomitsuki to force him out and improve to 3-3.

At sekiwake, Wakanosato (4-2) lifted out winless komusubi Wakanoyama but newly promoted Tochinonada (3-3) was twisted out by maegashira top gun Kyokutenho (2-4), who posted the only win of the day for the trio of Mongolian wrestlers in the makuuchi division.

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