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Thursday, July 11, 2002

Maru crashes to first defeat

Yokozuna Musashimaru crashed to a first defeat Wednesday while ozeki Tochiazuma was also tripped up for his first loss on a day of upsets at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

The day's final bout started off typically enough with the Samoa-born grand champion well in control as he wrapped his burly arms around top-ranked maegashira Tochinonada for leverage at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

But Tochinonada (3-1) got his left hand on the yokozuna's "mawashi" belt at the last second as he tip-toed on the edge of the ring and twisted Musashimaru down for his first loss of the 15-day meet.

Tochiazuma, meanwhile, appeared to run out of steam against fourth-ranked Takanowaka (3-1), who grappled at length at center-ring with the Tamanoi stable ozeki before pushing him over the edge in a frontal force-out.

Five wrestlers, including ozeki Chiyotaikai, sekiwake Asashoryu and three rank-and-filers remain perfect with 4-0 records as the pursuit for the coveted Emperor's Cup heats up.

At ozeki, Kaio, who was earlier diagnosed with torn muscles in his left arm, lost by injury default to No. 2 maegashira Takamisakari (1-3).

Chiyotaikai rolled like a freight train over winless komusubi Miyabiyama as he stayed in the pack of five wrestlers at 4-0.

Asashoryu, aiming for ozeki promotion, got Kotonowaka (1-3) reeling off-balance before he blasted the top-ranked maegashira out to retain his spotless record.

Stalwart Takanonami (4-0), a former ozeki, pulled down No. 10 maegashira Wakanoyama (1-3) for his fourth straight win.

No. 6 maegashira Kotomitsuki (3-1) had a bit of a scare but sent fourth-ranked Kaiho (1-3) sprawling with an arm-lock throw on the edge of the ring to stay one win off the pace.

Kaio out two months

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Ozeki Kaio, who withdrew from the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday after losing three straight bouts since the opening day, has been diagnosed with torn muscles in his left arm, sumo sources said Wednesday.

Kaio, who sustained an injury to the arm in mid-June in a single-elimination tournament, will require two months to recover before he can return to form, the sources said.

The Tomozuna stable ozeki avoided using the left side of his body in his three bouts in the tournament and lost all three in lopsided fashion in the 15-day meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.



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