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Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2002

Musashimaru handed second defeat, drops out of New Year tournament

Yokozuna Musashimaru dropped out of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday, the Japanese Sumo Association announced.

Musashimaru aggravated a left wrist injury during his loss to Kyokushuzan on the third day of the 15-day meet and chose to withdraw. It was the yokozuna's second loss in three days.

Musashimaru suffered the injury during the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at Fukuoka in November. He won that tourney but then had to miss a few weeks of practice to recover from the injury.

Kaiho, who was scheduled to fight Musashimaru on Wednesday, earns a default win.

In the day's final bout, Musashimaru allowed top-ranked Mongolian Kyokushuzan (1-2) to grab a wayward arm and pull him over the edge for another embarrassing defeat.

Meanwhile, ozeki Chiyotaikai showed komusubi Wakanosato who was boss at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Chiyotaikai brought an anticlimactic end to the day's premier bout, quickly blasting dark horse Wakanosato and flipping him to the clay surface to move to 3-0.

Chiyotaikai, who is looking to escape relegation from sumo's second highest rank, lunged quickly on the face-off and wasted no time pummeling the komusubi to hand him his first loss of the basho.

Newly promoted ozeki Tochiazuma was forced to play with fire again when he was barely able to shove out Kyokutenho and allowed the Mongolian komusubi to wrench him headlong at the ring's edge.

But Tochiazuma, who is aiming to become the first wrestler in 33 years to claim the Emperor's Cup as an ozeki debutante, burrowed his head into Kyokutenho (0-3) and forced the komusubi to fly over the edge in the nick of time to preserve his unblemished record.

Ozeki Kaio (2-1), who made an impressive 10-5 run in November, was the victor against Tamanoshima, calmly bulldozing ahead to send the No. 2 maegashira to his third straight loss.

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