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Monday, May 13, 2002

Maru dodges early bullet

Yokozuna Musashimaru turned away upset-minded komusubi Wakanosato and all four ozeki notched easy wins Sunday as the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament got off to an uneventful start.

Musashimaru let Wakanosato get both of his hands locked onto his sash from the inside control position at the face-off and appeared headed for a loss at Ryogoku Kokugikan until he twisted the komusubi out of the ring for an opening day win.

Pre-tourney favorite Musashimaru is seeking his second straight championship in a row after rolling to an easy victory at the spring tournament in Osaka in March.

All four holders of sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki also opened the 15-day basho with wins.

Kaio, the runnerup in Osaka with a 12-3 mark, flicked Aminishiki into the ringside seats with one arm.

Tochiazuma, winner of the New Year tourney in January, had little trouble against Toki, shoving the top maegashira out of the ring after wading through a barrage of slaps and thrusts.

Chiyotaikai, needing at least eight wins this time out to hold onto his ozeki rank, pulled down No. 2 maegashira Tosanoumi and showed that his 7-8 mark in Osaka was a fluke.

Ozeki Musoyama slapped down former ozeki Takanonami, now at the No. 2 maegashira slot, for an easy win.

Mongolian sekiwake Asashoryu, who went 11-4 in March and may be a candidate for ozeki with 10 or more wins in the summer tourney, tossed former ozeki Miyabiyama out of the ring for an easy win.

Earlier, Mongolia's Kyokushuzan scooped up the leg of Chiyotenzan and dropped his fellow No. 10 maegashira on his backside.

No. 4 maegashira Kyokutenho made it a Mongolian hat trick as he cranked Daizen, also a fourth-ranked maegashira, over with an arm lock for the win.

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