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Sunday, July 14, 2002

Unbeaten trio maintains pace

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Ozeki Chiyotaikai and sekiwake Asashoryu rolled to easy wins Saturday, but former ozeki Takanonami needed a rematch to secure his place among the unbeaten trio of leaders seven days into the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Yokozuna Musashimaru, meanwhile, shoved down lightweight Kaiho for his sixth win at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium to remain in the hunt for his third straight tournament championship as the meet prepares to head into its second week.

Asashoryu, seeking to become the first wrestler from Mongolia to win promotion to the ozeki ranks, overcame one major obstacle when he slammed nemesis Kotomitsuki to the ring's surface and snapped a four-match losing streak to the former sekiwake.

Asashoryu twisted the No. 6 maegashira over for his seventh straight win of the tournament.

Kotomitsuki, who sustained a broken jaw in March that forced him out of the summer tourney in May, saw his record slip to 4-3.

Chiyotaikai, 7-8 in March after nearly winning the New Year tourney, shows no signs of letting up in Nagoya as he fired out of his crouch at the face-off and bulldozed No. 5 maegashira Aminishiki (2-5) out of the ring in a one-sided match.

Takanonami threw Takanowaka (3-4) over by the back of the belt in a rematch of their first bout that ringside judges ruled was too close to call.

In that bout, both wrestlers uncorked throws at the edge of the ring and appeared to hit out of bounds simultaneously although Takanonami landed on top of the heap.

The ring official signaled that Takanowaka was the winner, but the ringside judges called for a conference and order a rematch.

Musashimaru, taking advantage of his 110-kg weight advantage, crushed Kaiho (3-4) out of the ring to remain at the heels of the leaders -- and, surprisingly, to even his career mark against the No. 4 maegashira to 3-3.

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