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Saturday, Nov. 15, 2003

Musashimaru evens record at 3-3

FUKUOKA (AP) Struggling grand champion Musashimaru overwhelmed Kotomitsuki on Friday in a must-win showdown at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Ozeki Musoyama thrusts down No. 1 maegashira Tochinonada on Friday.

Fighting in the final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Musashimaru got both arms around the top maegashira and calmly lifted his opponent out to improve to 3-3. Kotomitsuki dropped to 1-5.

After six days of the 15-day tourney, ozeki Tochiazuma and lower-ranked grappler Hokutoriki share the lead at 6-0.

Musashimaru has missed all or parts of the last six tournaments due to an injured left wrist. A fourth loss on Friday would have put the injury-plagued yokozuna in an awkward position with calls for his retirement mounting.

In other major bouts, grand champion Asashoryu, who won the Autumn tournament and is gunning for his fifth title, got a right-hand grip on Miyabiyama's belt right after the face-off and lifted the lumbering No. 4 maegashira out over the straw ridge to remain one win behind the leaders at 5-1 while handing Miyabiyama his third loss.

Tochiazuma barely broke a sweat when he came in low against Mongolian Kyokutenho and bulldozed the sekiwake wrestler out in a matter of seconds to maintain his share of the lead at 6-0.

Kyokutenho, who has struggled thus far, saw his record drop to 1-5.

Elsewhere, Wakanosato, who is bidding for promotion to ozeki in this tournament, took on local boy Kaio.

With three losses already, sekiwake Wakanosato cannot afford another setback and came charging out of the blocks before shoving Kaio out to even his record at 3-3. Ozeki Kaio dropped to 4-2.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai was the first ozeki casualty of the day when he got spun around after the face-off and was shoved out by Tamanoshima.

Chiyotaikai dropped to 4-2 while No. 3 maegashira Tamanoshima, who defeated Musashimaru on Thursday, is one win off the pace at 5-1.

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