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Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Kaio remains in driver's seat

OSAKA -- Ozeki Kaio made mincemeat out of fellow ozeki Miyabiyama on Tuesday to remain firmly in the driver's seat at 10-0, heading into the final straight at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Snapping at the heels of the front-running ozeki, at 9-1, however, are grand champion Takanohana and rank-and-filer Tamanoshima, who both posted easy wins on the 10th day of the 15-day tourney at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Ozeki Musoyama, however, saw his own title hopes dim after slipping to a second loss at the hands of komusubi Tochiazuma.

Veteran Kaio made a mockery of stumbling Miyabiyama (5-5) and clattered in unchallenged at the faceoff before swinging his ozeki rival out of the ring with an arm-bar throw to move a step closer to his second Emperor's Cup.

Takanohana, meanwhile, taught fourth-ranked maegashira Takanowaka (5-5) a lesson as the New Year champion responded to his opponent's false start by bulldozing him out of the ring for a one-sided win.

Musoyama fell out of the lead pack as the ozeki lost his footing before stepping out of the ring and allowing Tochiazuma to finish the job with a simple push to level his record at 5-5.

Musoyama joins Musashigawa stablemate yokozuna Musashimaru on 8-2 after the Samoan-born giant survived a late challenge from Tokitsuumi (4-6) before sending the fourth-ranked maegashira tumbling to the dirt.

In other key bouts, Dejima (6-4) made life hard for himself against Takanonami (4-6) but dumped the No. 3 maegashira to the dirt with an underarm throw. Dejima needs two more wins over the next five days to hold onto his ozeki status after going 7-8 in January. No. 10 maegashira Tamanoshima, formerly Tamanonada, winner of the second-tier juryo division in January, landed on top of Tosanoumi after bundling the eighth-ranked maegashira over the edge of the ring for his ninth win of the tourney.

Mongolian No. 6 maegashira Asahoryu (7-3) moved to within one win of promotion next time out by tipping over third-ranked Kotomitsuki 5-5.

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