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Hawaiian sumo wrestler set for top honors

Date Posted: 1999-05-29

Hawaiian-born ozeki Musashimaru clinched his second consecutive sumo title Sunday, in an all-foreign final at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, paving the way for his promotion to yokozuna, sumo's highest rank.

In the penultimate match, Musashimaru proved too strong for fellow Hawaiian yokozuna Akebono, finishing with a 13-2 winning record at the prestigious Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium. According to a Kyodo News report, the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, an advisory body to the Japan Sumo Association (JSA), has recommended Musashimaru for promotion, an almost certain endorsement. If successful, Musashimaru will become the 67th grand champion (yokozuna) and the second foreign wrestler to reach the top since Wakanohana's promotion last year.

Musashimaru's latest title is his fifth and second Emperor's Cup. The defeat of Akebono, who finished with an 11-4 showing amid calls for his retirement from the sport, was Musashimaru's 52nd straight kachikoshi (winning record).

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