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Thursday, March 21, 2002

Asashoryu takes down Maru

OSAKA -- Asashoryu was too quick for Musashimaru to catch Wednesday as the sekiwake dragged the burly yokozuna down to his first loss of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Asashoryu's victory, while still leaving Musashimaru in the lead at 10-1, reinvigorated the title hopes of ozeki pair Kaio (9-2) and Tochiazuma (8-3) as the 15-day tourney heads into its final four days at Osaka Prefecture Gymnasium.

Asashoryu slammed hard into the yokozuna at the face-off, but quickly retreated and circled away from the leader's thrusts and shoves.

Asashoryu eventually pulled the yokozuna down to the ring's surface to even his career record against Musashimaru to 3-3. Asashoryu is 7-4.

Kaio slipped around behind fellow ozeki Musoyama (7-4) and slapped him down for his ninth win.

Tochiazuma, still hanging onto hopes for promotion to yokozuna, sidestepped the hard charge of Toki (6-5) and watched as the No. 5 maegashira tumbled out of the ring.

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The Japan Times

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