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Tuesday, March 12, 2002

DAY 2

Tochiazuma, Maru stay perfect

OSAKA -- Yokozuna hopeful Tochiazuma overcame a shaky start to keep his promotion push at full speed with a win over Tochinonada on Monday to stay perfect on the second day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Yokozuna Musashimaru cruised to his second victory at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium but ozeki wannabe Kotomitsuki's prospects dimmed somewhat after he suffered his first loss at the 15-day tourney.

Ozeki Tochiazuma (2-0) won the Emperor's Cup at the New Year tournament and should seal his place at the top of sumo's elite division if he claims back-to-back titles.

However, it was Tochinonada who went on the offensive at the charge, but the No. 3 maegashira let the Tamanoi stable grappler wriggle free and Tochiazuma needed no second chance as he quickly finished off the bout.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki (1-1) needs to post 12 wins here to earn his extra stripes but ozeki Musoyama (1-1) showed the 25-year-old he may have to wait even longer as he got on top from the face-off and shoved him out.

Musashimaru withdrew four days into the New Year meet with a sore wrist but showed no signs of the injury this time around against No. 2 maegashira Kyokutenho (0-2), steamrollering past the Mongolian in a couple of seconds.

Meanwhile, ozeki Kaio (2-0) put an indifferent charge behind him with an explosion of power against No. 3 maegashira Tochinonada (1-1) while ozeki Chiyotaikai stayed with the early pace after shaking off komusubi Wakanosato (0-2).

Hayateumi pulls out

OSAKA -- Sixth-ranked maegashira Hayateumi has pulled out of the Spring Grand Sumo tournament after suffering knee ligament damage, his stable master said Monday.

The Oitekaze grappler injured his left knee before the beginning of the 15-day tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium and after losing to former ozeki Dejima in his opening day bout, withdrew from his third straight basho and his seventh overall.



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