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Friday, July 14, 2000


Akebono takes sole lead after victory over Kaio

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Akebono dealt clinically with the challenge of sekiwake Kaio on Thursday and boosted his record to a perfect 5-0 to finish the day in sole possession of the lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Chasing his first Emperor's Cup since May 1997, Akebono got to grips with Kaio (3-2) straight from the charge and quickly marched the ozeki hopeful back over the straw bails in a one-sided bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Takanohana almost paid the price for a sloppy face-off against hard-hitting komusubi Tosanoumi (1-4), but the yokozuna expertly locked onto his opponent's belt and forced him out of the ring in textbook fashion to go to 4-1 in the 15-day tourney.

Yokozuna Musashimaru barely broke a sweat against Toki (1-4) in the day's penultimate bout, easily disarming the thrusting attack of the No. 2 maegashira before moving in for the kill and win No. 4.

Newly promoted ozeki Miyabiyama improved to 3-2 after unloading on No. 3 maegashira Tochinonada (1-4) with a series of facials, while struggling No. 2 maegashira Takanowaka picked up his first win of the meet, defeating ozeki Chiyotaikai (3-2) in bizarre circumstances.

Chiyotaikai stopped immediately after the face-off, believing he had heard one of the ringside judges call for a restart and giving Takanowaka a free target to shove the ozeki out and pick up his first win.

Ozeki Dejima, the defending Nagoya champion, had too much power for veteran Akinoshima (2-3), bundling the No. 1 maegashira into the front row seats after a bout of tangoing in mid-ring to up his record to 4-1.

"I hung in there well today. It's beginning to feel like Nagoya 1999," Dejima said after his bout.

Musoyama, who needs eight wins to keep his ozeki rank after missing the summer meet with injury, slipped to 2-3 as he was dragged down by sekiwake Takanonami (3-2) while sekiwake Tochiazuma bounced back from a blowout loss to Akebono on Wednesday in impressive style. Winless komusubi Tamakasuga provided stiff resistance in a protracted bout, but Tochiazuma muscled his opponent out to move to 4-1.

American No. 13 maegashira Sentoryu (4-1) blew out 14th-ranked Kinkaiyama (2-3).

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