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Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2000

DAY 10

Maru still the man to beat

Grand champion Musashimaru overwhelmed No. 4 maegashira Takatoriki for an easy win Tuesday to remain the unbeaten leader in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, taking a one-win advantage into the final five days of the 15-day tourney.

Keeping his own back-to-back championship hopes alive, yokozuna Akebono defeated Hayateumi for a ninth win while newly promoted ozeki Kaio, 8-1 at the start of the day, fell to a second loss at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In Tuesday's featured final, Musashimaru fended off a challenge from Takatoriki (3-7) at the faceoff before nonchalantly bundling him out of the ring to remain on course for his first championship of the year.

Akebono, looking to pick up the Emperor's Cup for the second time in a row following his triumph at the Nagoya tourney in July, grabbed No. 2 maegashira Hayateumi (5-5) by the throat at the tachiai and then quickly marched him out for a one-sided win.

Kaio, meanwhile, slipped to 8-2 after his attempt to get a firm grip on the right side of Tochinonada's belt failed. The No. 3 maegashira took control then and dragged the ozeki down for a third win to improve to 3-7.

In a showdown of ozeki, Chiyotaikai (7-3) returned to his winning ways, needing only an instant to haul down Miyabiyama (6-4) at the faceoff.

Ozeki Dejima (8-2) dished out a series of slaps before forcing fourth-ranked maegashira Toki (5-5) over the bales, while sekiwake Musoyama (6-4) overpowered komusubi Akinoshima (4-6).

Musoyama still needs to win four out of the last five matches to return to the rank of ozeki.

Mongolia's No. 14 maegashira Kyokushuzan (8-2) yanked out seventh-ranked maegashira Tochinohana (7-3) to become the first maegashira in the tourney to post a winning record and ensure himself a promotion for November's Kyushu event.

Meanwhile, No. 3 maegashira Kyokutenho, also from Mongolia, was easily backed out by maegashira top gun Tosanoumi (3-7) to slump to his eighth loss and a slide down the rankings in November.

American Sentoryu (3-7) fell to his seventh loss.

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