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Saturday, March 18, 2000

Takatoriki remains unbeaten in Osaka

OSAKA -- Musashigawa stablemates Musashimaru, Musoyama and Miyabiyama posted impressive wins Friday to stay on the heels of unbeaten rank-and-filer Takatoriki on the sixth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Yokozuna Musashimaru, made quick work of No. 3 maegashira Kotoryu (2-4) in the day's penultimate bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, bulldozing straight ahead for a bread-and-butter victory which boosted the Samoan-born giant's record to 5-1.

Grand champion Takanohana registered his fifth win by twisting down top-ranked maegashira Wakanoyama (2-4), before Mongolian No. 2 maegashira Kyokutenho stepped onto the ring to accept a walkover as a result of yokozuna Wakanohana's retirement.

Kyokutenho returned to the changing rooms with a 2-4 record in the 15-day tourney, the same mark as Wakanohana, who announced his retirement Thursday after losing to sekiwake Tochiazuma.

Earlier, no. 14 maegashira Takatoriki had little trouble shoving out 10th-ranked Asanosho (2-4) to move to 6-0, while mid-maegashira wrestlers Toki and Asanowaka also won to join the six-man chase pack.

Sekiwake Musoyama, gunning for ozeki promotion after winning his first Emperor's Cup in the New Year tournament, shut down the attack of komusubi Kaio (2-4) and shoved his opponent out for win No. 5 in a scrappy bout.

Newly promoted sekiwake Miyabiyama, runnerup in January, saw red when Takanonami (3-3) slapped him in the face at the charge and marched the lanky ozeki out of the ring to improve to 5-1.

Meanwhile, yokozuna Akebono narrowly avoided a three-day losing sequence as he lost his balance at the edge of the ring, but clung to the left foot of komusubi Tosanoumi (2-4) and squashed him from behind to up his record to 4-2.

Ozeki Dejima missed a chance to join his Musashigawa buddies with five wins as he was sent skidding to the dirt surface in the blink of an eye by Tochiazuma, who evened his record to 3-3.

Another ozeki, Chiyotaikai, dished out a mugging to Mongolian top-ranked maegashira Kyokushuzan (3-3) and improved to 4-2.

Waka takes new name

OSAKA -- The Japan Sumo Association on Friday approved the resignation of yokozuna Wakanohana and his request to become sumo elder Fujishima, association officials said.

The 29-year-old Wakanohana, who announced his retirement Thursday after suffering his third loss in the ongoing Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, will coach active wrestlers at his stable under stablemaster and father Futagoyama.

"I feel a heavy burden has lifted from my shoulders," Wakanohana said. "The name Fujishima is time-honored. Life goes on and I'll do my best to live up to that name as an elder."



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