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Friday, May 17, 2002

Maru remains tied for Summer lead

Ozeki Tochiazuma must have prayed to the sumo gods to avoid his second straight loss Thursday but yokozuna Musashimaru was as calm as the Buddha as he remained undefeated at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

In the day's key bout, Tochiazuma appeared tentative and in danger of falling to his second straight loss as Miyabiyama seized control early shoving the ozeki to the ring's edge seconds into the bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

But Tochiazuma reached for some gumption deep inside to force Miyabiyama (2-3) back to center-ring before dragging the No. 3 maegashira down hard to the dirt to stay one off the leaders with a 4-1 record.

The Samoan-born grand champion, meanwhile, was the epitome of composure as he allowed Tosanoumi to erupt into a fierce charge while simply waltzing back and pulling the No. 2 maegashira's arms forward and down for a comfortable win.

Musashimaru, seeking his 11th Emperor's Cup, moved to a 5-0 record in a three-way tie for the lead with ozeki Chiyotaikai and Mongolian rank-and filer Kyokushuzan.

Chiyotaikai, who must notch eight or more wins to avert demotion, lorded over komusubi Wakanosato (2-3) for an easy throat-rattling shove-out while Musoyama had no problems demolishing fourth-ranked Daizen (2-3).

Ozeki Kaio looked at the top of his game polishing off top-ranked maegashira Toki (1-4) seconds into the match.

In early bouts, komusubi Tochinonada (3-2) shrugged off the huffing-and-puffing Mongolian Asashoryu (3-2) for a convincing frontal push out after the sekiwake unleashed a hailstorm of thrusts and slaps for the upper hand at the start of the bout.

Mongolian No. 10 maegashira Kyokushuzan (5-0) looked ever sharper on the fifth day this time wrenching 12th-ranked Buyuzan (2-3) to the ring's surface by the mawashi for a crafty twist-down to preserve a spotless record.

Kyokutenho (3-2), the fourth-ranked maegashira from Mongolia, locked at center ring for a lengthy bout with Takanowaka (0-5) before spinning the hapless third-ranked grappler around by the belt for an easy force-out.

Terao pulls out

Former sekiwake Terao pulled out of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, a day after matching the record for most career losses in the sport.

Doctors said that 39-year- old Terao ruptured a muscle in the biceps of his right arm and will need two months of treatment to heal.

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