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Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010

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Historic moment: Ozeki Kaio defeats Chiyotaikai on Tuesday for his record 808th victory in sumo's elite division. KYODO PHOTO

Kaio breaks Chiyonofuji's makuuchi win record

Kyodo News

Kaio etched his name in the sumo record books at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday as the veteran ozeki claimed his 808th win in sumo's elite makuuchi division to take top spot on the all-time list.

The 37-year-old Kaio, who matched former yokozuna great Chiyonofuji's record of 807 victories on Monday, reached the milestone by overpowering Chiyotaikai, pushing the former ozeki a step closer to retirement in the process.

The Tomozuna stable war horse shrugged off a slap at the charge and got around the back of Chiyotaikai to floor him with an "okurinage" rear throwdown.

Kaio, the oldest wrestler in sumo's premier division, improved to 2-1 while Chiyotaikai dropped to 0-3 at the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

The five-time Emperor's Cup winner, who made his debut alongside the likes of former yokozuna Takanohana and Akebono at the spring tourney in 1988, has a career total of 976 wins, second on the all-time list behind Chiyonofuji (1,045).

Chiyonofuji hailed Kaio's achievement after seeing his makuuchi record broken.

"Records are there to be broken and when a wrestler comes out and does that it livens sumo up," Chiyonofuji told NHK. "He wrestled well as well. His body is not as packed with energy as it once was but he has made a massive effort and it is a splendid achievement."

Meanwhile, tournament favorite Hakuho and fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu both maintained their unbeaten records with comfortable wins.

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