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Monday, July 15, 2002

Maru deals Takanonami first loss

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian sekiwake Asashoryu labored to an eighth win by barging out Aminishiki while ozeki Chiyotaikai had little trouble disposing of Kaiho as both maintained their flawless records at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Meanwhile, yokozuna Musashimaru stayed in contention for a third straight Emperor's Cup, handing veteran Takanonami his first defeat of the 15-day tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium to leave both men on the heels of the front-running duo with 7-1 records.

In line to become the first wrestler from Mongolia to earn promotion to ozeki, Asashoryu looked unsure of himself as he hesitated at the tachiai and allowed No. 5 maegashira Aminishiki (2-6) to force him to the edge of the ring.

But the saucy sekiwake quickly regrouped before uncorking a pair of powerful thrusts to send his opponent hurtling into the front row of seats and move within three wins of possible promotion to sumo's second-highest rank.

Chiyotaikai, however, met little resistance from Kaiho (3-5) and needed minimum effort in bulldozing the fourth-ranked maegashira out in another one-sided affair.

In the day's final bout, Musashimaru was made to work for his victory and needed every ounce of strength in his 231-kg frame to shunt out stubborn former ozeki Takanonami for his 37th win in 55 meetings between the two.

Local favorite Buyuzan, a 14th-ranked maegashira, stayed in the thick of the title race along with Musashimaru and Takanonami on 7-1 after seeing off 12th-ranked Aogiyama 4-4.

In the lower echelons of sumo's elite makuuchi division, Kyokutenho's five-bout winning streak came to an end as the Mongolian rank-and-filer went down to Takanowaka (4-4) while compatriot Kyokushuzan was thrown to his seventh defeat by Kotonowaka (2-6).

In the 26-member juryo division, Asasekiryu beat Minatofuji to go 3-5.

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