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Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Chiyotaikai, Asashoryu hold lead

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Ozeki Chiyotaikai rammed out Takanonami and sekiwake Asashoryu marched out Miyabiyama on Monday to remain the unbeaten co-leaders nine days into the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Yokozuna Musashimaru, meanwhile, kept alive his own hopes for a third straight tournament championship by shoving out Toki at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium for his eighth win against one loss.

Chiyotaikai, who lost in a playoff for the New Year championship in January, got underneath No. 7 maegashira Takanonami with a crisp initial charge and bulldozed the former ozeki out of the ring for his ninth straight win to strengthen his bid for the Emperor's Cup.

Takanonami, who had been in the title hunt after winning his first seven matches of the tournament, suffered his second straight loss of the meet to slip another step behind the leaders.

Asashoryu used a couple hard slaps across the face to soften up former ozeki Miyabiyama (2-7) and then wrapped the komusubi up with both hands locked onto the back of the belt for a frontal force-out triumph.

While keeping the fiery sekiwake in the lead for the championship, Asashoryu's ninth win brought him another step closer to the 11-12 wins he needs to become Mongolia's first ozeki-ranked wrestler.

In the day's final bout, Musashimaru kept his record perfect against Toki (5-4) by blasting the No. 7 maegashira into the ringside seats when he tried to sidestep the hard charge of the Samoa-born grand champion.

Musashimaru has now won all 14 of his head-to-heads with Toki.

In an earlier bout, Mongolia's Kyokutenho (6-3), wrestling as an eighth-ranked maegashira, wrapped up Buyuzan (7-2) with a bear hug and tagged the No. 14 maegashira with his second loss of the tourney by waltzing him out of the ring.

Kyokushuzan was saddled with his eighth loss of the tourney when he was thrown down by No. 4 maegashira Kaiho (4-5), meaning the No. 2 maegashira from Mongolia will take a slide in the rankings for the autumn tourney in September.

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