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Monday, Nov. 19, 2001


Musashimaru survives scare

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Musashimaru survived a scare before bundling out fourth-ranked maegashira Tochinonada on Sunday to narrowly hang onto his flawless record heading into the second week of Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

Musashimaru improved to 8-0 while rank-and-filer Hayateumi disposed of Mongolian maegashira Kyokushuzan to join the burly grand champion as an unlikely co-leader in the 15-day tourney at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Meanwhile, it all went horribly wrong again for relegation-threatened Kaio, while fellow ozeki Musoyama looked just as hapless as the tournament's only two representatives of sumo's second-highest rank tumbled to embarrassing defeats.

Tochinonada (4-4) twice looked to have rocked Musashimaru when he wriggled free of a powerful neck clamp following a prolonged stalemate at mid-ring and seemed close to victory.

But the Kasugano stable grappler ran out of steam just when it mattered most and allowed Musashimaru to capitalize on his 50-kg weight advantage to usher him over the straw ridge for the win.

In contrast, 10th-ranked maegashira Hayateumi needed minimum effort to plow out Kyokushuzan to stay unbeaten and hand the former komusubi his second defeat.

Kaio (5-3), needing at least eight wins to remain at ozeki, was the victim of a mugging by third-ranked Tokitsuumi, who picked up his first win of the meet, while Musoyama (5-3) suffered a similar fate after being marched out from behind by maegashira Kotonowaka (5-3).

It was a day of mixed fortunes for sekiwake duo Tochiazuma and Kotomitsuki, who are both gunning for promotion to ozeki after solid performances at the autumn basho in September.

Autumn champion Kotomitsuki (4-4) absorbed Kyokutenho's charge before swiveling away to send the Mongolian No. 5 maegashira sprawling to a third loss, but Tochiazuma saw his unblemished record come to an end after going down to No. 7 maegashira Toki (6-2).

In an all-komusubi match-up, spunky Mongolian Asashoryu (5-3) got back on the winning track, wasting no time in twisting down Kaiho, who traipsed back to the dressing room nursing a bloody nose and a 4-4 record.

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