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Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Taka rebounds to beat Musoyama; Takatoriki stays perfect in Osaka

OSAKA -- Yokozuna Takanohana returned to form Monday with an impressive victory over Musoyama, while rank-and-file grappler Takatoriki remained unbeaten on the ninth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Takanohana, who lost to komusubi Kaio on Sunday, looked sharp from the outset when he got a hold of Musoyama's belt shortly after the faceoff and, fighting off an arm throw, used every ounce of strength to muscle the bulky sekiwake out of the ring.

Both wrestlers now stand at 7-2 in the 15-day meet at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium along with yokozuna Akebono, sekiwake Miyabiyama and eighth-ranked maegashira Asanowaka.

Yokozuna Musashimaru, meanwhile, remains one win behind Takatoriki at 8-1 after posting an easy victory over fourth-ranked maegashira Takanowaka (2-7), in which the Samoan-born giant barely broke a sweat.

Akebono wasted little time in racking up his seventh victory when he came charging out of the blocks and simply overpowered Mongolian-born Kyokutenho (3-6) in the day's final bout.

Miyabiyama suffered his second loss of the tourney when komusubi Tosanoumi fought off a series of arm thrusts and forced the Musashigawa stable wrestler to the edge of the ring where he bellied him out to improve to 5-4.

In an earlier bout, surprise leader and No. 14 maegashira Takatoriki had little trouble with Asanowaka (7-2) as he spun the eighth-ranked maegashira around after the faceoff and shoved him out for his ninth straight win.

Ozeki Takanonami (3-6) fell to his fifth straight loss at the hands of No. 2 maegashira Tamakasuga, who got his opponent off balance after the faceoff and then carried him over the straw ridge to pick up his third win.

Fellow ozeki Dejima posted his second straight victory and improved to 6-3 when he bulldozed top maegashira Kyokushuzan into the first row of seats while sending the Mongolian to his fourth loss of the tourney.

The other ozeki, Chiyotaikai, forced out No. 3 maegashira Kotoryu (3-6) to snap a two-match losing streak and boost his record to 5-4.

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