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Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2002

Maru maintains east yokozuna slot

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Musashimaru will retain the prestigious east yokozuna slot for the eighth successive tournament as the Japan Sumo Association released its rankings Monday for the upcoming Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

The Samoan-born giant defeated fellow grand champion Takanohana on the final day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament last month to secure his 12th Emperor's Cup.

After shrugging off an opening-day upset and a sore left wrist, Musashimaru emerged victorious with a 13-2 record in Tokyo and will begin as favorite to make it 13.

However, the biggest story from Ryogoku Kokugikan was the return of Takanohana after a record 15-month absence from the ring following a serious knee injury.

The fourth-most successful wrestler in terms of the number of tournament victories, set out last time with the pundits predicting imminent retirement only to see him push Musashimaru to the limit.

Takanohana will bid to go one better at the Nov. 10-24 meet at Fukuoka Kokusai Center and starts his 48th tournament as a yokozuna and will hope to claim a 23rd title from the west position.

Kaio returned after skipping the Nagoya tourney with injury to go an impressive 12-3 in September and without any relegation worries, looks the biggest threat to the two yokozuna.

Sumo rankings for Kyushu Basho
Musashimaru (Y, 13-2) Yokozuna Takanohana (Y, 12-3)
Kaio (O, 12-3) Ozeki Chiyotaikai (O, 10-5)
Asashoryu (O, 10-5) Ozeki Musoyama (O, 8-7)
Tochiazuma (O, r-15) Ozeki    
Wakanosato(S, 8-7) Sekiwake Kotomitsuki (M7, 12-3)
Kyokutenho (M3, 8-7) Komusubi Takanowaka (M4, 8-7)
Takanonami (K, 7-8) M.1 Tosanoumi (S, 6-9)
Miyabiyama (M1, 7-8) 2 Hokutoriki (M6, 9-6)
Tamakasuga (M8, 10-5) 3 Tamanoshima (M5, 8-7)
Takamisakari (K, 4-11) 4 Gojoro (M9, 8-7)
Kyokushuzan (M11, 9-6) 5 Shimotori (M2, 5-10)
Tochinonada (M1, 4-11) 6 Kotoryu (M3, 5-10)
Toki (M2, 4-11) 7 Tokitsuumi (M6, 7-8)
Kaiho (M8, r-15) 8 Aminishiki (M7, 7-8)
Kotonowaka (M9, r-15) 9 Wakanoyama (M12, 8-7)
Dejima (M10, r-15) 10 Ushiomaru (M15, 9-6)
Buyuzan (M5, 5-10) 11 Iwakiyama (J1, 10-5)
Tochinohana (M14, 8-7) 12 Tochisakae (M4, 2-9, r-4)
Tamarikido (J4, 11-4) 13 Jumonji (J3, r-15)
Akinoshima (M13, 7-8) 14 Aogiyama (M14, r-15)
Asanowaka (M13, 7-8) 15    
(Previous ranking and record in parentheses. Y=yokozuna, O=ozeki, S=sekiwake, K=komusubi, M=maegashira, J=juryo, r=rest)

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