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Sunday, March 18, 2001

Kaio rolls on, Maru tumbles

OSAKA -- Ozeki Kaio stormed to his seventh straight win Saturday while yokozuna Takanohana remained hot on his heels with another solid performance at the Spring Grand Sumo tournament.

Grand champion Musashimaru, however, saw his own title hopes take a hit after going down to third-ranked maegashira Kotomitsuki at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, leaving ozeki Musoyama and rank-and-filer Tamanoshima tied for second with Takanohana.

For Kaio, it was just another day at the office as the Tomozuna Stable veteran got a two-handed clamp onto the back of Wakanosato's sash before slamming the sekiwake to the dirt for the win.

Takanohana's challenge for back-to-back titles remained intact as the yokozuna coolly showed Mongolia's Kyokutenho (2-5) a lesson in wrestling by shunting the maegashira top gun out of the ring.

In the day's major upset, however, Musashimaru got more than he bargained for against stubborn third-ranked maegashira Kotomitsuki (4-3), who twice fought back from the edge of the ring to bustle the Samoan-born giant out to a second loss.

Tamanoshima, back in sumo's premier league as a No. 10 maegashira after winning promotion from the second-tier juryo division with a 12-3 record in Januaru, plowed out sixth-ranked Kotonowaka (3-4) for his sixth win.

At ozeki, Musoyama eased to another win by gobbling up No. 2 maegashira Hayateumi (2-5) with minimum effort to keep his hopes of lifting his second Emperor's Cup following last year's New Year tourney triumph.

Dejima, bounced back from a hat trick of losses and moved within four wins of retaining his ozeki status by blasting out second-ranked Chiyotenzan, who slipped to 4-3.

Meanwhile, Miyabiyama enjoyed the luxury of a day off and improved to 3-4 courtesy of a default win over top-ranked maegashira Kotoryu (1-6) who pulled out after injuring his left elbow in Friday's loss to Kaio.

At komusubi, Tochiazuma (3-4) barged No. 4 maegashira Tokitsuumi out to his third loss but Wakanoyama was left still looking for his first win of the tourney after sekiwake Tochinonada (4-3) bundled the Musashigawa stable grappler out.

Earlier, Mongolian No. 6 maegashira Asashoryu shoved out ninth-ranked Kaiho (2-5) to move to 4-3 but winless fifth-ranked compatriot Kyokushuzan slipped within one loss of a losing record after being toppled by ninth-ranked Takatoriki (2-5).



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