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Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2000


Takanonami up to old tricks

Former ozeki Takanonami looked like the trickster of old and ozeki hopeful Tochiazuma appeared woefully green Monday as the veteran komusubi tagged the sekiwake with a surprise loss only two days into the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Yokozuna Akebono and ozeki Miyabiyama, meanwhile, rebounded from opening-day losses with easy wins at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan as the tournament's top six wrestlers were all victorious.

In the day's biggest upset, Takanonami, who lost his ozeki ranking in July, was up to his old tricks against Tochiazuma, smothering the sekiwake's thrusting attack right at the faceoff.

The lanky komusubi wrapped Tochiazuma up with his familiar arm lock and forced his opponent up against the straw ridge. When the sekiwake attempted a desperation throw from there, Takanonami slammed him down with a straight-arm to the chest.

Tochiazuma, needing 11-12 wins to be considered for promotion to ozeki, and Takanonami are level in the 15-day tourney at 1-1.

In other key bouts, yokozuna Akebono, winner of the Nagoya championship in July, slapped down winless No. 3 maegashira Tochinonada to even his mark at 1-1.

Fellow-grand champion Musashimaru, defending champion in the fall tourney, muscled out Mongolia's third-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho (0-2) for a second win.

At ozeki, Miyabiyama flipped over No. 4 maegashira Takatoriki (0-2) with an arm throw for the first of eight wins he needs to avoid losing his position on sumo's second-highest rung.

Newly promoted ozeki Kaio, meanwhile, locked onto the back of Akinoshima's belt and marched the komusubi out of the ring for his second win. Chiyotaikai (2-0) also slapped down second-ranked maegashira Hayateumi (1-1) and Dejima (2-0) was pulled off balance by Oginishiki (0-2), but recovered in time to drive out the No. 5 maegashira. Sekiwake Musoyama, needing at least 10 wins to be restored to the ozeki rank himself, shoved down No. 4 maegashira Toki (1-1) for a second win.

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