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Thursday, Nov. 15, 2001

DAY 3

Musashimaru wins ugly in Kyushu

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Musashimaru won ugly again Tuesday to stay undefeated but relegation-threatened ozeki Kaio was unable to deliver the goods for his hometown fans after slipping to his second loss at the Kyushu Grand Sumo tournament.

Meanwhile, ozeki Musoyama got back on the winning track after Monday's hiccup while promotion-chasing sekiwake duo Kotomitsuki and Tochiazuma also emerged victorious from their bouts in the 15-day meet at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Grand champion Musashimaru, seeking his first Emperor's Cup of the year, had to fight tooth and nail with winless maegashira Takanowaka and almost lost his wrestler's sash in the process in the day's final bout.

Not for the first time this week, the Samoan-born giant started nervously and Takanowaka appeared to have the edge as he repeatedly attempted to yank the yokozuna down by the belt.

Yokozuna Musashimaru bulldozes out No. 2 maegashira Takanowaka.

But once again, Musashimaru dug deep and used every ounce of strength in his 230-kg frame to dispose of the second-ranked grappler with a mighty shove at the ring's edge for a hard-fought win.

Kaio (1-2), who needs at least eight wins to retain his ozeki rank, got tangled up and was unable to shake off the grip of komusubi new boy Kaiho (2-1) but ozeki Musoyama rebounded from an upset defeat to Asashoryu 24 hours earlier by mugging second-ranked Tosanoumi (1-2).

In other key bouts, autumn tourney champion Kotomitsuki (2-1), aiming to move up to sumo's second-highest rank, managed to keep his balance on the edge of the straw ridge to pull top-ranked maegashira Tamanoshima (1-2) down to the dirt surface for a second win.

Fellow ozeki hopeful Tochiazuma joined Musashimaru and a handful of wrestlers with three wins against no losses by battling past No. 1 maegashira Wakanosato, who left the ring nursing a 0-3 record.

Elsewhere, there was plenty to cheer about for Mongolian sumo fans watching the NHK satellite broadcast back in Ulan Bator as cheeky komusubi Asashoryu sneaked a third straight win and veteran maegashira Kyokushuzan also won to preserve his unblemished record.

Asashoryu outfoxed Dejima (1-2) at the charge before pulling the hapless former ozeki down.



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