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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Kaio clinches basho with win over Maru

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Ozeki Kaio, shrugging off relegation pressure, won the Emperor's Cup on the penultimate day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday after beating yokozuna Musashimaru for his third career title.

In the day's final bout between the two leading wrestlers at the 15-day tourney, Kaio dumped the Samoan-born grand champion with a powerful throw at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium to secure his first Emperor's Cup since the spring meet in March.

Kaio (13-1) got the better at the faceoff to drive the yokozuna back to the edge of the ring and although Musashimaru (11-3) seemed to have resisted the initial charge, the ozeki pulled out his strong right-arm throw to finish off the affair.

"I was up after the charge and didn't want to miss my chance so I kept attacking," said Kaio.

The Tomozuna ozeki started out this tournament needing to record at least eight wins to avoid demotion after pulling out midway through the summer meet with a lower-back injury but is now pushing again for a promotion to sumo's highest rank.

Musashimaru saw his hopes for a ninth Emperor's Cup dashed after his second loss in as many days following Friday's defeat at the hands of sekiwake Tochiazuma. In the day's other bouts, Chiyotaikai (11-3) beat Musoyama (9-5) in an all-ozeki battle after the Kokonoe grappler powered through his Musashigawa rival with his trademark thrusts.

Tamanoshima (11-3) kept up his impressive performances with a victory over Tochiazuma (9-5), the No. 5 maegashira sending the sekiwake flying into the front cushions.

Ozeki Miyabiyama (7-7) beat Kotomitsuki (5-9), escaping from a charge by the sekiwake with a throw onto the straw bales while Mongolian Kyokushuzan (7-7) upset Wakanosato (9-5) after the No. 5 maegashira slapped down the komusubi.

Mongolian Asashoryu (7-7) gave another display of speedy sumo in dumping No. 5 maegashira Takanowaka (9-5). The komusubi can preserve his run of never posting a losing record if he wins against Tosanoumi in his final bout Sunday.

Kyokutenho earned his eighth victory after he twisted out Tochinohana (7-7).

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