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Thursday, Nov. 18, 2004

Ozeki Musoyama calls it quits

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Veteran ozeki Musoyama announced his retirement on Wednesday after three consecutive losses at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament put him in danger of being demoted from sumo's second-highest rank.

Musoyama, 32, decided to call it quits in a meeting with stablemaster Musashigawa on Tuesday night, hours after losing to second-ranked maegashira Kokkai in a third-day bout.

The native of Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, withdrew midway from the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament with a 2-7 record and needed at least eight wins in the ongoing 15-day tournament to retain his rank.

"I entered the matches with a fighting spirit but was unable to produce results. Those were terrible fights, which I think proved insulting to the fans," Musoyama said.

"Now I think it's my duty to teach young wrestlers what I've done in my career. Hopefully, I'll do it well," he said.

Musoyama will become a sumo elder under the name of Fujishima and coach wrestlers at the Musashigawa stable.

Five share lead

FUKUOKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu slapped down Kotomitsuki on Wednesday to remain tied for the lead after the fourth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

After butting heads with the komusubi wrestler in the day's final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, the Mongolian yokozuna swatted Kotomitsuki down at the center of the ring to improve to a perfect 4-0. Komusubi Kotomitsuki dropped to 2-2.

Asashoryu is tied for the lead with fellow-Mongolian Hakuho and lower-ranked wrestlers Kotonowaka, Roho and Kasugao.

Ozeki Kaio, a Fukuoka native, posted his third straight win and remained one win back of the leaders when he used a textbook arm throw to send Tochinonada tumbling to the dirt surface. Komusubi Tochinonada dropped to 1-3.

After losing on the opening day of the 15-day tourney, Kaio has looked dominant and will need to continue racking up the wins to have a chance for promotion to grand champion.

Georgian-born wrestler Kokkai (2-2) gave ozeki Chiyotaikai (2-2) a taste of his own medicine when he deployed a series of arm thrusts to send the ozeki toppling off the raised ring.



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