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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

SUMMER BASHO

Tochiazuma hands Chiyotaikai first loss

Tochiazuma weathered a storm of slaps and thrusts from Chiyotaikai on Tuesday and then saddled his ozeki rival with his first loss of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Chiyotaikai's loss left yokozuna Musashimaru the lone undefeated leader 10 days into the 15-day tourney at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan after the burly grand champion slammed No. 6 maegashira Kotonowaka out of the ring.

In the day's featured bout, Tochiazuma took a beating from Chiyotaikai off the initial charge but avoided getting slapped out of the ring by circling away along the straw bales.

Tochiazuma then got his chance when Chiyotaikai reached up for a pull down, leaving himself open for a quick shove and a trip backward out of the ring for his first loss.

Tochiazuma, who won the New Year championship with a pair of wins over Chiyotaikai on the final day of the meet in January, notched his seventh win to keep his hopes alive for a come-from-behind victory in the summer basho.

Musashimaru, meanwhile, had little trouble with Kotonowaka (4-6), driving the rank-and-filer to the edge and then shoving him out for his 10th win when the hulking maegashira tried to dance away.

Musashimaru's stablemate, former ozeki Dejima kept up his charge from the No. 9 maegashira position by slapping down No. 2 maegashira Tosanoumi (5-5) at the face-off for his ninth win of the tourney.

Mongolia's Kyokushuzan (8-2), meanwhile, fell another step behind with his second straight loss as sekiwake compatriot Asashoryu (7-3) was quicker off the mark to secure belt control and easily deposit the former komusubi out of the ring.

Also at the ozeki rank, another Musashimaru teammate at the Musashigawa stable Musoyama plowed Wakanosato (5-5) out of the ring for a seventh win.

Kaio pulled Takanowaka (3-7) with an arm drag and then sent the No. 3 meagashira out of the ring from behind for a sixth win.



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