TOKYO, Jan. 23 (Kyodo) -- Musoyama knocked fellow sekiwake Kaio out of the ring at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday to claim the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament championship.
New Year sumo, keeps
stable string alive
Musoyama won his first-ever makuuchi division crown with 13 wins against a pair of losses and extended the Musashigawa stable's string of championships to six despite an out-of-form ozeki Dejima and the absence of yokozuna Musashimaru.
"I can't believe it. I feel like I've finally done it," Musoyama said after winning the top prize six years after making his debut with the Musashigawa stable as a former collegiate champion out of Senshu University.
The victory gave the Musashigawa stable championships in all six of the major tournaments over the last 12 months - four of them by Musashimaru and one by Dejima, who won the Nagoya meet last July.
The 27-year-old sekiwake from Ishikawa Prefecture, who will be a candidate for sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki at the spring tourney in March, was also awarded the Outstanding Performance Award and Technique Prize.
Facing the possibility of a playoff for the title if he lost Sunday, Musoyama overpowered Kaio at the face-off with a solid shoulder to his opponent's chest and then bulldozed his opponent out of the ring to slam the door on the title hopes of stablemate Miyabiyama and grand champions Takanohana and Akebono.
In an earlier bout, Miyabiyama backed out 11th-ranked maegashira Tokitsuumi (9-6) for his 12th win as a first-time komusubi and was later awarded the Outstanding Performance Award following wins over Akebono, ozeki Chiyotaikai and all three sekiwake he faced.
Wrestling for pride rather than a playoff berth in Sunday's final, Takanohana and Akebono, nevertheless, battled mightily to improve upon their identical 11-3 marks. Takanohana finally gained the advantage and toppled Akebono off the raised ring for the win.
In another key bout, sekiwake Takanonami muscled out No. 11 maegashira Chiyotenzan (9-6) for his 10th win to ensure his return to the rank of ozeki at the spring tourney in March.
Takanonami, who lost his ozeki status after pulling out of the autumn tourney last September and then going 6-9 in Kyushu two months later, is only the second wrestler to regain the ozeki ranking after having lost it.
Mienoumi, currently known as sumo elder Musashigawa, regained ozeki status at the Nagoya tourney in 1976 and then went on to be promoted to grand champion.
In other bouts, Kyokutenho, 13th-ranked maegashira from Mongolia, snapped sekiwake Tochiazuma (8-7) to the ring's surface off the face-off for an 11-4 record and the Fighting Spirit Award.
Also, Kyokushuzan (8-7) slapped down Takanowaka for his sixth win in a row, ensuring the No. 6 maegashira from Mongolia a slight promotion for the spring tourney in Osaka.
No. 12 maegashira Takanowaka, who ended Miyabiyama's title run with an upset win Saturday, was awarded the Fighting Spirit Prize with a 10-5 showing.
ResultsResults on the final day at New Year Grand Sumo Tournament
TOKYO, Jan. 23 (Kyodo) -- Results of makuuchi division bouts Sunday, the final day of the 15-day New Year Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo (+ denotes juryo division):
Won -- Technique -- Lost
+Oginishiki 13-2 -- makiotoshi -- Otsukasa 5-10
Minatofuji 8-7 -- oshidashi -- Ohinode 4-11
Tamakasuga 8-7 -- uwatenage -- Oikari 8-7
Wakanoyama 9-6 -- okuridashi -- Kinkaiyama 6-9
Kyokushuzan 8-7 -- hatakikomi -- Takanowaka 10-5
Shikishima 7-8 -- hatakikomi -- Takatoriki 6-9
Kaiho 6-9 -- tsukidashi -- Kotonishiki 3-12
Asanowaka 3-12 -- oshidashi -- Hamanoshima 5-10
Akinoshima 7-8 -- yorikiri -- Kotonowaka 6-9
Kotoryu 6-9 -- yorikiri -- Asanosho 7-8
Toki 4-11 -- oshitaoshi -- Terao 5-10
Miyabiyama 12-3 -- yorikiri -- Tokitsuumi 9-6
Tosanoumi 8-7 -- oshidashi -- Tochinonada 6-9
Takanonami 10-5 -- yorikiri -- Chiyotenzan 9-6
Kyokutenho 11-4 -- hatakikomi -- Tochiazuma 8-7
Musoyama 13-2 -- oshitaoshi -- Kaio 7-8
Dejima 9-6 -- oshidashi -- Chiyotaikai 9-6
Takanohana 12-3 -- yoritaoshi -- Akebono 11-4
Makuuchi - Musoyama, Musashigawa stable, 13-2
Juryo - Oginishiki, Dewanoumi stable, 13-2
Makushita - Nodera, Matsugane stable, 7-0
Sandanme - Sakaguchi, Minezaki stable, 7-0
Jonidan - Tsuji, Naruto stable, 7-0 (winner in playoff)
Jonokuchi - Kawada, Futagoyama stable, 7-0
(Note: Wrestlers in sumo's four junior divisions compete in only seven bouts during the tournament.)
Special awards for makuuchi division wrestlers
Outstanding Performance Award - Musoyama, Musashigawa stable (5th)
Miyabiyama, Musashigawa stable (1st)
Technique Prize - Musoyama, Musashigawa stable (3rd)
Fighting Spirit Prize - Takanowaka, Naruto stable (1st)
Kyokutenho, Oshima stable (1st)
Results in Scoreboard
For more sumo information online, try:
Da Kine Sumo E-zine
Kyodo News Service