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Saturday, Feb. 16, 2002

Amateur champ to turn pro

OSAKA -- National amateur sumo champion Masato Miyoshi said Friday he has decided to turn professional and join the stable run by sumo elder Takasago, an alumnus of his own soon-to-be alma mater Kinki University.

By virtue of his national title in December, the 22-year-old Osaka native will make his debut as a 15th-ranked wrestler in the makushita division, the highest of four junior divisions, at the spring tourney in Osaka next month.

"I'm nervous and filled with uncertainties," Miyoshi told reporters in a press conference at Kinki University. "I want to wrestle straight ahead like the stablemaster used to," said Miyoshi, who weighs in at 175 kg.

"There are so many strong wrestlers in the stable and I want to learn the spirit of fighting."

Takasago, who also hails from Kinki University and reached the rank of ozeki under the ring name Asashio, said, "Miyoshi's got the build for sumo and I hope he will learn to fight with intensity."

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