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Monday, June 21, 1999

Yokozuna debut

Newly promoted Musashimaru will debut as grand champion (yokozuna) in the upcoming sumo tournament starting July 4, the Japan Sumo Association announced today.

The 28-year-old Musashimaru, born in Hawaii, was promoted from ozeki (champion) rank after capturing the Emperor's Cup for two consecutive tournaments, with records of 13-2 in both March and May.

He joins three other top-ranked wrestlers at the pinnacle of Japan's ancient sport.

Musashimaru, the second foreign-born wrestler to reach the rank of yokozuna, was ranked as the top west yokozuna, while Akebono, also from Hawaii, will be the top east yokozuna in the next tourney.

Wakanohana, who withdrew from the May tournament halfway through with an ankle injury, will be ranked as east yokozuna just below Akebono.

Takanohana, who sat out the whole previous tournament because of an injured right shoulder, will be west yokozuna just below Musashimaru.



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