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Monday, July 8, 2002

Musashimaru wins convincingly but Kaio opens basho with loss

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Musashimaru manhandled komusubi Tosanoumi for a convincing win Sunday but ozeki Kaio gave in to a sore arm for a opening-day loss at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

The Samoa-born grand champion swatted Tosanoumi backward like a rag doll with his burly arms at the face-off, sending the komusubi over the edge with ease in the final bout of the day at Aichi Prefectural Stadium.

Musashimaru, who went 13-2 at the summer meet, is seeking his third consecutive championship title and first 15-0 record since his initial drink from the Emperor's Cup in July 1994.

Kaio, the defending champion in the Nagoya meet, found the pressure too great for his sore left arm against Tochinonada, being toppled backward when he attempted a crafty arm-throw on the top-ranked maegashira.

Ozeki Tochiazuma bulldozed Takamisakari to the ring's edge and bellied out the No. 2 maegashira for an easy victory while ozeki Chiyotaikai sent top-ranked Takanowaka reeling with an earth-shattering charge out of the crouch.

Sekiwake Asashoryu, making a bid to become the first wrestler from Mongolia to reach sumo's second highest ran of ozeki, wrapped up second-ranked countryman Kyokushuzan for comfortable win.

Third-ranked maegashira Dejima, a former ozeki, blasted out sekiwake Wakanosato in a matter of seconds and looks to have returned to form after a series of health-related setbacks the last couple years.

No. 6 maegashira Kotomitsuki, returning to action with a metal plate in his chin after suffering a broken jaw in the spring tourney, charged out seventh-ranked Toki to the raucous applause of his Nagoya home crowd.

Former ozeki Takanonami, wrestling as a No. 7 maegashira, twisted eighth-ranked Mongolian Kyokutenho out with a frontal force-out.

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