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Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002

Tochiazuma leads at 10-0

Tochiazuma manhandled former ozeki Dejima to emerge as the sole undefeated wrestler Tuesday after komusubi Kotomitsuki and ozeki Chiyotaikai both fell to their first losses due to concentration lapses at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Ozeki Tochiazuma confidently escorted out fourth-ranked maegashira Dejima (4-6) in no time to take the lead at 10-0 with just five days remaining in the 15-day meet at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Meanwhile in the day's shocker, ozeki hopeful Kotomitsuki moved Tochinonada (7-3) to the edge of the ring and lifted a leg in an effort to hurl the No. 6 maegashira into the front row seats.

Tochinonada, however, caught Kotomitsuki off guard when he wriggled out of the grip at the last second and shoved the komusubi over the edge from behind to hand him his first loss of the meet.

Chiyotaikai also failed to administer the deathblow.

The ozeki thrashed and slapped Kaiho and appeared to have the match won when he shoved the No. 3 maegashira off balance. However, Kaiho (3-7) sidestepped, causing the ozeki to come crashing down himself after losing his footing in the dirt.

Ozeki Kaio won by injury default and moved to 7-3, after No. 4 maegashira Chiyotenzan (3-7) pulled out of the meet with a broken heel sustained in his loss to Musoyama on Monday.

In earlier bouts, seventh-ranked maegashira Tosanoumi applied an arm twist to toss veteran No. 3 maegashira Takanonami (5-5) to the dirt to notch a winning record and stay two off the pace at 8-2.

Top-ranked maegashira Kyokushuzan (4-6) used a slick grapple technique to sweep the legs of fellow No. 1 maegashira Akinoshima (2-8).

But komusubi Kyokutenho (2-8) and sekiwake Asashoryu (5-5) failed miserably for the Mongolian camp, falling quickly to komusubi Wakanosato (6-4) and ozeki Musoyama (7-3), respectively.

Fifteenth-ranked American Sentoryu finally got some much needed gumption back, quickly marching No. 9 maegashira Kobo (1-9) to the edge and crushing him to the clay for his fourth victory.

Chiyotenzan pulls out

Fourth-ranked maegashira Chiyotenzan has pulled out of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament after suffering from a broken heel in his bout with ozeki Musoyama on Monday.

The Kokonue stable wrestler was diagnosed with a fractured left heel after losing the bout on the ninth day of the 15-day meet at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. He will be sidelined for two months to treat the injury.

Chiyotenzan becomes the 10th wrestler from makuuchi and juryo divisions to pull out of the New Year tourney through injury.

Top man Kitanoumi

Sumo elder and former yokozuna Kitanoumi would be the likely successor to Japan Sumo Association chairman Tokitsukaze in an election scheduled for Feb. 1, sumo sources said Monday.

The 48-year-old Kitanoumi is expected to receive votes from the majority of the 10-member executive committee.

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