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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Asashoryu keeps east slot

Asashoryu, who won his first Emperor's Cup as grand champion in May, maintains the prestigious east slot as the Japan Sumo Association released its rankings for the upcoming Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

The 22-year-old Mongolian grand champion, who prevailed in the summer meet with a 13-2 record, will be looking to capture back-to-back titles at the July 6-20 tourney at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium but faces a big obstacle in the shape of fellow grand champion Musashimaru.

Burly Samoan-born powerhouse Musashimaru, a 12-time Emperor's Cup winner, takes the west berth for his comeback in Nagoya after missing the last three tournaments due to a niggling wrist injury.

Kaio, who defeated Asashoryu on the penultimate day of the summer meet but had to settle for an 11-4 record, sits in the top east ozeki position.

Chiyotaikai failed in his bid to earn promotion to sumo's ultimate rank of yokozuna with a 10-5 showing in May and occupies top place on the west side.

Musoyama (east) and Tochiazuma (west) preserved their ozeki status after both scraped together 8-7 records as "kadoban" the last time out.

Elsewhere, Mongolian grappler Kyokutenho becomes the first wrestler to be promoted to sumo's third rank of sekiwake since the 2002 New Year meet after notching 10 wins on his third basho at komusubi in May.

Fellow sekiwake Wakanosato is on the east side and will wrestle in his 10th straight basho in sanyaku, the highest three ranks after yokozuna.

Former ozeki Dejima drops from sekiwake to komusubi after posting a lackluster 7-8 record while Tochinonada returns to the sanyaku for the first time in seven tournaments.



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