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Wednesday, July 19, 2000

DAY 10

Business as usual for Akebono

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Grand champion Akebono overwhelmed No. 2 maegashira Toki for an easy win Tuesday to remain the unbeaten leader in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, taking his two-win advantage into the final five days of the 15-day tourney.

Keeping their own championship hopes alive, ozeki Chiyotaikai and sekiwake Tochiazuma posted their eighth wins at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium to join three lower-ranked maegashira wrestlers in the chase for the front-running yokozuna.

In Tuesday's final bout, Akebono fended off Toki's challenge from the face-off and nonchalantly bundled him out of the ring with a powerful series of thrusts as he edged another step closer to his first major tournament championship since May 1997.

In other key bouts, Chiyotaikai wasted no time in barging out top-ranked maegashira Akinoshima (5-5), matching ninth-ranked stablemate Chiyotenzan with an eighth win.

Chiyotenzan, wrestling at the lower end of the makuuchi division, rammed out No. 4 maegashira Wakanoyama (5-5).

In an all-sekiwake affair, Tochiazuma put an end to Takanonami's hopes of regaining the ozeki rank in Nagoya with a push-out from behind, moving to 8-2 along with Chiyotaikai.

Takanonami, who needed 10 wins in Nagoya to regain sumo's second-highest rank, will now have to post 10 or more wins in three straight tournaments if he is to become an ozeki for a third time. In other bouts, yokozuna Musashimaru (7-3) eased out fourth-ranked Oginishiki (5-5) while stablemate ozeki Dejima (7-3) bounced back from Monday's loss to Akebono to beat komusubi Tosanoumi (3-7) with a frontal force-out.

The Musashigawa stable's other two ozeki, however, continued to struggle as Miyabiyama (4-6) was backed out by maegashira Hayateumi (6-4) and Musoyama (3-7) provided komusubi Tamakasuga (1-9) with his first win of the tourney.

Musoyama, apparently still bothered by the hip injury that kept him out of the summer tourney, will now need to win all five of his remaining bouts to continue to fight as an ozeki in September.

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The Japan Times

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