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Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Kaio stays in front with 9-0 record

OSAKA -- Kaio bulldozed his way to a pace-setting 9-0 record Monday, keeping his bid for a second Emperor's Cup on track by mugging fellow ozeki Dejima at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hot on Kaio's heels, however, yokozuna Takanohana and ozeki Musoyama both won to join rank-and-filer Tamanoshima at 8-1 moving into the business end of the 15-day tourney at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Dejima (5-4) proved no roadblock to the Kaio juggernaut as the Tomozuna stable wrestler clattered in hard at the faceoff and quickly deposited his smaller opponent onto the ringside cushions with a throw borrowed from the World Wrestling Federation.

New Year meet champion Takanohana, meanwhile, squeezed the fight out of No. 2 maegashira Hayateumi (3-6) at the charge and powered him out for another win.

Quickly refocusing after a false start, Musoyama earned his majority of wins by exploding from the blocks and then slapping down No. 5 maegashira Akinoshima, who left the ring nursing a 3-6 record.

Two wins off the pace, yokozuna Musashimaru encountered no real resistance from No. 4 maegashira Takanowaka (5-4) and easily chalked up his seventh win in the day's penultimate bout.

Stumbling ozeki Miyabiyama picked up his fifth win, but will have had little idea how after No. 4 maegashira Tokitsuumi (4-5) worked himself into a winning position only to lose his footing at the crucial moment.

No. 10 maegashira Tamanoshima, who won the second-tier juryo title in January, secured his eighth victory and a promotion next time out by pasting 12th-ranked Otsukasa (6-3) after a brief tango in the center of the ring.

Spring failed to arrive yet again for winless No. 5 maegashira Kyokushuzan, who was muscled out by ninth-ranked Kaiho (4-5), but No. 6 maegashira Asashoryu salvaged some Mongolian pride by dragging down 11th-ranked Tochinohana (5-4) to boost his record to 6-3.

Another Mongolian, top-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho, twisted Wakanoyama 360 degrees at the faceoff, only to lose the initiative and allow the komusubi to execute an arm throw at the edge to leave both men on a precarious 2-7.

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