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Thursday, Nov. 14, 2002

Maru taking no prisoners

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Musashimaru made his win over Hokutoriki look like child's play Wednesday while ozeki Asashoryu also had little to sweat about as both wrestlers maintained perfect records at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

In the day's final bout, Musashimaru had hardly stood from his crouch before sending winless No. 2 maegashira Hokutoriki recoiling backward over the edge of the ring at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Hokutoriki put up minimum resistance from the Samoan-born giant's solid right-arm frontal attack as the yokozuna now shares the lead with Asashoryu as the only grapplers at 4-0.

A fiery Asashoryu uncorked a few stinging slaps to the head and face of Takanowaka (2-2), before deftly positioning his left arm under the komusubi's armpits for a swift and emphatic shove over the bales.

In the day's only ozeki upset, Tochiazuma (1-3), who must win eight or more bouts to avoid relegation from sumo's second-highest rank, found he was no match for an energetic and determined Takanonami (3-1).

Top-ranked maegashira Takanonami, a former ozeki himself, retreated toward the edge but battled back to flip the ozeki to the clay.

Kaio withdraws

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Ozeki Kaio has pulled out of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament after tearing a tendon in his upper right arm and will require at least three months to recover, stable master Tomozuna said on Wednesday.

"I spoke with Kaio this morning and the injury turned out to be worse than I had suspected. I want to apologize to all his fans in (his hometown) Fukuoka, but I have decided to pull him out of the meet," Tomozuna said.

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