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Monday, May 21, 2001

DAY 8

Kaio loses, pulls out of tournament

Chiyotaikai downed fellow ozeki Kaio on Sunday to stay within one win of yokozuna Takanohana in the challenge for the title at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Kaio, who had been touted as a candidate for sumo's top rank of yokozuna, complained of lower back pain and withdrew from the tournament. Even though he won the spring tournament, Kaio will now face the possibility of relegation at the Nagoya meet in July.

Takanohana (8-0) won his bout against Wakanoyama (2-6) by injury default but saw his closest rivals keep up the pressure in the 15-day tourney at Tokyo's Ryokoku Kokugikan. The grand champion from the Futagoyama stable got the day off after No. 2 maegashira Wakanoyama pulled out of the tournament with ligament damage to his left ankle, sustained during his loss to Kaio on Saturday.

In Sunday's key matchup, ozeki Chiyotaikai (7-1) had Kaio (4-4) up against the straw bales following the initial charge and then moved his weight back to pull the defending champion down to the ground.

Yokozuna Musashimaru (6-2) beat out giant-killer Kotomitsuki (5-3) to remain two wins back and keep up the challenge for the Emperor's Cup going into the second week despite two losses in the first three days. The Samoan-born grand champion used his huge frame to shove out the smaller komusubi, preventing the 25-year-old upstart from adding a yokozuna scalp to the four ozeki he has nabbed in the past week.

Mongolian Asashoryu (5-3), however, snatched yet another upset victory with an easy win over struggling ozeki Dejima (2-6). The newly promoted komusubi claimed his fourth victory over an ozeki to go with his opening-day win over Musashimaru.

Ozeki Miyabiyama (6-2), who came into the tourney needing eight wins to hold onto his rank, has now joined the chase pack two paces back with a win over Wakanosato (5-3). The Musashigawa stable wrestler turned the top-ranked maegashira around and sent him sprawling to the dirt.

In the early bouts, Higonoumi (6-2), who started the day in a tie for second place, suffered a second straight loss, getting muscled out by Mongolia's Kyokushuzan.



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