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Friday, July 19, 2002

Musashimaru takes a tumble

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Musashimaru was tossed to his second defeat Thursday but ozeki Chiyotaikai and sekiwake Asashoryu had little trouble disposing of their opponents to remain in a tie for the lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

The Samoan-born grand champion appeared to have the edge against Wakanosato when he wrapped the sekiwake up with a one-handed belt grip at the start of the day's final bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Wakanosato (9-3), however, sidestepped to the left while sweeping his hands across the back of the burly yokozuna for a slap-down that sent Musashimaru tumbling into the ring seats.

With the loss, Musashimaru dropped to 10-2 and fell a pace behind co-leaders Chiyotaikai and Asashoryu, both at 11-1.

In an all-Mongolian encounter, Asashoryu got a firm grip on the left side of compatriot Kyokutenho's belt and nuzzled up before using his flexible frame and leverage to pound the No. 8 maegashira over the bales to his fifth loss.

Asashoryu will possibly be considered for promotion to become the first Mongolian ozeki after the day's win and is seeking his first championship title.

Chiyotaikai got a bit of surprise when fifth-ranked maegashira Hokutoriki (4-8) locked arm-and-arm with him in a bear hug after the "tachiai," but the ozeki slipped away to execute a nicely timed beltless arm-throw.

No. 6 maegashira Kotomitsuki (5-7), rebounding from a broken jaw, snapped a six-bout losing skid, barging out Mongolian second-ranked Kyokushuzan, who was saddled with his 11th loss of the basho.

In an earlier bout, seventh-ranked Takanonami (8-4), a former ozeki, slipped to his second straight loss with a frontal push-out against No. 14 maegashira Buyuzan.

Tamakasuga to return

NAGOYA (Kyodo) No. 6 maegashira Tamakasuga, who withdrew from the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament earlier this week with a fever, will return to the 15-day meet on Friday, sumo officials said Thursday.



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