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Kaio, winner of the Nagoya tournament, maintains the top east ozeki position for the second straight time, while yokozuna Asashoryu keeps the top east slot for the third tournament in the Japan Sumo Association’s rankings for the upcoming Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament released Monday.

The 30-year-old Kaio, who won the July tournament with a 12-3 result, is said to need a perfect 15-0 record in the Sept. 7-21 tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan if he is to attain sumo’s highest rank of yokozuna.

Asashoryu, who pulled out of the last tournament from the 11th day after a lackluster 5-5 win-loss tally due to neck and elbow injuries, is making a new start in life with his wife and a newborn baby in Japan after settling, at least officially, a long-standing feud with fellow Mongolian, No. 8 maegashira Kyokushuzan.

Samoan-born yokozuna Musashimaru, who also withdrew from the last tournament because of injury, takes the west berth.

Veteran ozeki Musoyama also sits in the east berth, while Chiyotaikai, the spring tournament winner in March, takes the top spot on the west side, followed by “kadoban” ozeki Tochiazuma, who was 7-8 in the July tourney and needs “kachikoshi” — a majority of wins — to preserve his second highest ranking.

Talented Wakanosato, who had a respectable 10-5 record in the Nagoya tourney, retains his status as sekiwake, sumo’s third highest rank, for the third straight time.

Former ozeki Miyabiyama returns to the rank of “sanyaku” for the first time in seven tournaments as west sekiwake.

Toki is promoted to komusubi for the first time, while Tosanoumi returns to the same position after dropping lower for the previous tournament.

Maru undecided

Yokozuna Musashimaru may require more time to recover from a nagging left wrist injury and could sit out the upcoming Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, stablemaster Musashigawa said Monday.

“I’d like him to wrestle only if the left wrist is completely healed to avoid aggravating the injury like he did at the previous basho (in July),” said Musashigawa.

The 32-year-old Samoan-born grand champion has been sidelined since last November’s Kyushu basho, except for a short stint at the Nagoya meet in which he pulled out on the fifth day after aggravating the wrist. He had missed three straight tourneys before Nagoya.

Musashimaru, who finished with a dismal 2-4-9 record in July, recently took part in about 15 training bouts in preparation for the Sept. 7-21 meet at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

“It looks like he will be able to train in more bouts,” Musashigawa said.

Musashimaru returned home Sunday to Hawaii to take care of a family matter but is scheduled to resume training Thursday.

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