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Sunday, May 26, 2002

DAY 14

Musashimaru wins basho

Yokozuna Musashimaru laid the pressure on thick and chased out ozeki Tochiazuma on Saturday to win the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament for his 11th Emperor's Cup.

With the title he clinched on the penultimate day of the 15-day meet, the Samoan-born grand champion tied former yokozuna and Hawaiian compatriot Akebono for the most tournament wins by a foreign wrestler in the top-tier makuuchi division.

Unlike the yokozuna's sluggish start in his loss to ozeki Chiyotaikai on Friday, Musashimaru (13-1) got a quick jump at the face-off and surged ahead, steering Tochiazuma to the ring's edge in the final bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Tochiazuma (9-5) did his best to rebuff the burly yokozuna's relentless attack by trying to pull him off-balance at the edge but Musashimaru quickly ousted him to secure his second title in as many tournaments.

"Musashimaru fulfilled his responsibility as a yokozuna. Yesterday, he retreated too much but today he was able to maneuver his body well at the face-off to soften his opponent's blows," Musashimaru's stable master Musashigawa said.

Meanwhile, ozeki Chiyotaikai (11-3), who had also been in contention for the championship title, manhandled No. 6 maegashira Takamisakari (8-6) for a quick frontal force-out.

Kaio (10-4) won by injury default over rival ozeki Musoyama, who dislocated his shoulder in a loss to Kyokutenho on Friday. Musoyama ends his campaign with a 9-5-1 record.

In earlier bouts, journeyman Hokutoriki duped former ozeki Dejima with a slick sidestep move and quick shove-out from behind after the No. 9 maegashira pushed him to the edge. The newly promoted 14th-ranked maegashira wrestler stands at 11-3.

Sekiwake Asashoryu twisted down Mongolian compatriot and fourth-ranked Kyokutenho (6-8) by using an inner-thigh maneuver for his 10th win, thus increasing his chances of a possible ozeki promotion for the Nagoya basho.

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