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Wednesday, July 12, 2000

DAY 3

Tochiazuma topples Taka

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Sekiwake Tochiazuma toppled yokozuna Takanohana on Tuesday to remain tied for the lead with grand champion Akebono and two rank-and-file maegashira three days into the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Defending champion Dejima and summer tourney winner Kaio, meanwhile, were saddled with their first losses of the 15-day basho, known for its unpredictability, at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

In the day's major upset, Tochiazuma kept the pressure on Takanohana from the face-off before crushing the yokozuna out of the ring for his third win while Taka, seeking his first championship in nearly two years, slumped to 2-1.

Akebono, stepping onto the dohyo in the very next match, kept pace with the unbeaten sekiwake, notching his third win by bulldozing out maegashira top gun Akinoshima (1-2).

Samoan-born yokozuna Musashimaru (2-1), wrapping up the day's action, made amends after his embarrassing loss to kosumubi Tosanoumi the previous day by steamrolling winless top maegashira Tochinohana.

Ozeki Dejima (2-1), the winner in Nagoya last year, came unstuck as No. 2 maegashira Toki slapped his way past the reigning champion to register his first victory of the tourney.

Dejima's ozeki stablemates from the Musashigawa stable, however, found their way onto the scoreboard.

Just as his meteoric rise to ozeki looked to be turning sour after being beaten twice by less formidable opponents, Miyabiyama bounced back by ramming out fourth-ranked maegashira Tamakasuga for his first win of the tourney.

Musoyama rebounded from a loss Monday by shoving out second-ranked Takanowaka.

In earlier bouts, Mongolia's seventh-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho disposed of No. 10 Daizen (2-1) to notch up his third win to find himself surprisingly among the early tournament leaders.

The misery continued for compatriot Kyokushuzan, who fell to his third defeat courtesy of a hand pull-down by Takamisakari, who is also an unbeaten tourney co-leader.

In a battle of sekiwake with ozeki aspirations, Takanonami (2-1) edged one step closer to regaining the rank he lost in May by churning out a hard-fought victory over Kaio (2-1), who needs 11-12 wins to be considered for promotion to sumo's second highest rank.

The lone representative from the American mainland in the tournament, No. 13 maegashira Sentoryu could not make it three straight in his makuuchi division debut, being forced out by ninth-ranked Minatofuji (1-2) after a spirited fight.



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