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Thursday, March 22, 2001

Unbeaten Kaio holds onto lead

OSAKA -- Ozeki Kaio gunned down veteran Takanonami for another comfortable victory on Wednesday to remain in pole position at 11-0 with just four days remaining at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Still lurking behind the leader at 10-1, however, is grand champion Takanohana while rank-and-filer Tamanoshima fell to ozeki Musoyama, leaving both men tied a further win back with yokozuna Musashimaru at the 15-day tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Kaio moved into position for a second Emperor's Cup as the Tomozuna stable grappler faced little resistance from Takanonami (4-7) at the charge and nonchalantly bulldozed the third-ranked maegashira out of the dohyo to preserve his flawless record.

Meanwhile, Takanohana, searching for his second straight title, kept the leader on his toes with another convincing win by combining a powerful shoulder charge with a vice-like right-hand grip to leave ozeki Dejima biting the dust with a 6-5 record.

Fellow grand champion Musashimaru (9-2) won in unorthodox fashion to stay in the title chase as the Samoan-born powerhouse got Mongolia's Asashoryu (7-4) in a tangle before dragging the No. 6 maegashira down from behind by the neck.

Ozeki Musoyama kept his outside championship hopes alive while denting Tamanoshima's title challenge by quickly wrapping the 10th-ranked maegashira up and dumping him to the dirt for the win.

Ozeki Miyabiyama quickly recovered from Tuesday's loss to Kaio and had little trouble in dragging down sekiwake Toichinonada (5-6) to post his sixth win against five losses.

Sekiwake Wakanosato moved up to 5-6 by barging Mongolian top-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho, who will face demotion next time out after tumbling to a 3-8 losing record.

On a miserable day for the Mongolian trio, No. 5 maegashira Kyokushuzan hobbled back to the dressing room with a heavily strapped right leg nursing a 1-10 record after 10th-ranked Asanowaka bundled the former komusubi out to move to 4-7.

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