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Thursday, July 14, 2011

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Equal footing: Kaio tosses down Toyonoshima on the fourth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. Kaio prevailed to match Chiyonofuji for the most career wins. KYODO

Kaio matches Chiyonofuji's career wins mark


NAGOYA — Ozeki warrior Kaio etched his name in sumo history on Wednesday, beating Toyonoshima to match former yokozuna Chiyonofuji for the most career wins with 1,045 at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

It wasn't sexy, but Kaio finally got the win that had eluded him for the first three days in a quick pull down of his diminutive opponent after the initial charge as the crowd burst into thunderous cheers at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

The battle-worn ozeki cracked a slight smile of relief as the crowd continued its applause. Toyonoshima, who was knocked off balance as he came out of the crouch, slipped to a 2-2 mark.

"I feel good about getting this record but my performance so far as an ozeki has been terrible," Kaio said.

Kaio, who turns 39 on July 24, made his sumo debut at the 1988 spring basho, along with such former yokozuna wrestlers as Takanohana, Wakanohana and Akebono. He debuted in the elite makuuchi division at the 1993 summer basho.

"I can't get too happy (about the record) and I feel somewhat embarrassed that people are making a big fuss of it. Things don't come easy for me. But I guess that's the way I'm built."

Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, made mincemeat of fellow Mongolian Kyokutenho (1-3), ripping through his opponent with a savage charge before toppling him into the ringside seats to retain his undefeated slate.

In other noteworthy bouts, ozeki Harumafuji punished rival Kakuryu in a nonstop assault before waltzing the sekiwake over the ridge to also improve to 4-0.

Baruto (4-0) won a bout by default against Tosayutaka, who has pulled out with a left knee injury.

Fellow ozeki Kotooshu flung Yoshikaze (1-3) to the dohyo surface like a rag doll for a third win.

Kisenosato (2-2) lost a battle against Tochinoshin, who made two false starts in his impatience before he grappled the sekiwake in a relentless attack and shoved him over the edge for his first win.

Promotion-chasing Kotoshogiku made short work of Goeido (1-3), quickly moving his feet forward while blasting his opponent with a salvo of shoves to earn a fourth win.

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