• Kyodo


Beleaguered yokozuna Musashimaru shrugged off calls for him to throw in the towel once and for all by rebounding from back-to-back losses to shunt out Aminishiki at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

Musashimaru, who missed all or part of the last six basho due to a nagging wrist injury and has come under mounting pressure to retire, never gave No. 3 maegashira Aminishiki (1-3) a look in the day’s finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

The 235-kg Samoan-born hulk opened with a cheeky slap at the face off and quickly completed the job with a pair of mighty shoves to get back on the winning track at 2-2.

Fellow yokozuna Asashoryu also managed to come through unscathed despite an early scare as the Kyushu defending champion countered to send third-ranked Tamanoshima (3-1) backpedaling out of the ring for his third win of the tourney.

Ozeki Tochiazuma and rank-and-filers Kyokushuzan and Hokutoriki share the lead at 4-0 but ozeki Chiyotaikai lost the plot and his perfect record as he was outfoxed by fourth-ranked maegashira Miyabiyama.

Tochiazuma was given a run for his money by Iwakiyama but the ozeki’s class shone through in the end as he disposed of Iwakiyama, who is seeking his first win of the tournament in his komusubi debut.

Elsewhere, local favorite Kaio (3-1) gave the crowd plenty to cheer about as he slapped down Mongolian Kyokutenho (1-3) while Musoyama, who like Kaio needs eight wins to keep his ozeki rank, read Toki’s slap down attempt like a book to level his score to 2-2 after two straight defeats.

Chiyotaikai, however, was unable to make it a clean sweep for the ozeki camp as he saw his trademark arm thrusts easily smothered by former ozeki Miyabiyama (3-1), who put in a spirited performance before ushering his opponent over the straw ridge.

Sekiwake Wakanosato (1-3) saw his hopes of promotion to ozeki dealt another blow as he was handcuffed and then squashed on to the clay surface by sumo’s “Robocop” impersonator komusubi Takamisakari (2-2).

In a bout between top-ranked maegashira, Tochinonada improved to 3-1 after bulldozing out one-time ozeki candidate Kotomitsuki, who slipped to 1-3.

In the lower echelons of the makuuchi division, Hokutoriki and Mongolian former komusubi Kyokushuzan both maintained their unbeaten records with comfortable wins.

No. 7 maegashira Hokutoriki bumped out winless Buyuzan after a series of powerful neck thrusts while fifth-ranked Kyokushuzan notched win No. 4 after flooring sixth-ranked Tokitsuumi (2-2) with a well-timed backward force-down.

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