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Sunday, July 15, 2001

Unbeaten Maru, Kaio cruise ahead

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Musashimaru and ozeki Kaio posted convincing wins to maintain spotless records Saturday and two ozeki also won comfortably to stay one step behind the pair at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Musashimaru picked up his seventh straight win in the 15-day tournament as the grand champion overpowered No. 3 maegashira Tochinonada (3-4) with a powerful throw at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. Tochinonada appeared to have the big Samoan on the ropes by jerking him sideways in the opening seconds, but the yokozuna turned the tables near the edge and used the maegashira's head like a lever to send him sprawling out.

Kaio (7-0), whose excellent form in the tourney looks sure to give Musashimaru a stiff title challenge, wasted no time in disposing of sekiwake Tochiazuma (4-3), barreling his chest into his opponent off the charge and muscling him out of the straw ridge.

Chiyotaikai lunged off the charge and shoved his way to a lopsided force-out victory against No. 3 maegashira Toki to stay in a five-way tie at 6-1 with fellow ozeki Musoyama, komusubi Wakanosato and rank-and-filers Tamanoshima and Takanowaka.

Musoyama met little resistance from Higonoumi (3-4), who backpedaled out of the ring in the face of the ozeki's devastating shoves and thrusts.

In the day's upset, top-ranked maegashira Takanonami (1-6) handed ozeki Miyabiyama (2-5) another loss as the Musashigawa stable wrestler continued his lackluster performance.

In other bouts, the fiery komusubi Asashoryu (3-4) waged a street-brawl with sekiwake Kotomitsuki (2-5) to notch the win after being humbled in four of his last six bouts at the tourney.

The Monglian trickster thrashed the sekiwake with shots to the head and then tried a bear-hug maneuver before toppling the heavier wrestler with his own weight in the middle of the ring.

Off the dohyo, ozeki Dejima, who withdrew from the tournament Friday because of an inflamed right thigh, has yet to decide whether he will rejoin the 15-day meet as demotion from sumo's second highest stares him in the face.

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