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Saturday, May 20, 2000

DAY 13

Takanohana falls to Chiyotaikai

Takanohana choked under pressure Friday and slipped to his second defeat, leaving yokozuna rival Akebono and komusubi Kaio in a two-way tie for the lead at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai sensibly kept Takanohana away from his sash in the day's penultimate bout and maneuvered an angle to attack side-on, before driving the yokozuna on the ringside cushions to boost his own record to 10-3 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Next up, Akebono almost lost control of his 230-kg bulk against speedster Dejima (8-5), but kept his balance to barge out the ozeki who had won five of the previous eight meetings between the two men and improve to 12-1 with two days left in the 15- day meet.

Meanwhile, Tosanoumi (7-6) made the mistake of coming in too low at the charge against Kaio, who quickly stepped to the side and crunched his rival komusubi to the dirt surface to move to 12-1.

In a battle of sekiwake wrestlers, Miyabiyama kept his slim ozeki promotion hopes alive, recovering from a shaky start to muscle out Tochiazuma and leave both wrestlers with a 9-4 record.

Slumping ozeki Takanonami paid for slapping the face of Tamakasuga (8-5) at the charge as the tactic looked to fire up the No. 4 maegashira, who went on to steamroller his taller opponent out to his seventh loss.

Takanonami now needs to win both his remaining bouts to retain his ozeki status after a losing record at the spring journey in March.

Earlier, in-form No. 12 maegashira Tochinohana hit a roadblock in the shape of 11th-ranked Hayateumi (8-4), losing his footing and ending up on his backside as he took just his third loss in his debut in sumo's top division.

It was a bad day for Mongolia as No. 4 maegashira Kyokushuzan was blown out by 12th-ranked Asanosho (2-11), while No. 6 maegashira Kyokutenho bent the knee to seventh-ranked Kotonowaka (9-4) and, like his compatriot, faces demotion next time out after falling to 5-8.

American Sentoryu, dropping in on sumo's "major league" for the day, catapulted out No. 13 maegsahira Terao (4-9) to improve to 6-7.



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