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Thursday, Sept. 14, 2000

DAY 11

Musashimaru remains undefeated

Grand champion Musashimaru shoved out No. 6 maegashira Kotonowaka to seize his 11th straight win Wednesday and hold onto sole possession of the lead in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Fellow yokozuna Akebono also downed No. 4 maegashira Toki for win No. 10 to keep the heat on the front-running Musashimaru with just four days left of the 15-day event at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In the day's penultimate bout, Musashimaru was slow off the mark at the charge, allowing Kotonowaka (7-4) to lock onto his neck and opening the door to an upset loss to the rank-and-file grappler.

The Samoan-born yokozuna somehow wriggled free from the grip, however, getting behind the former sekiwake and pushing him out to edge a step closer to his first championship of the year.

Akebono, on the other hand, did not waste any time forcing out Toki (5-6) for another one-sided win as the Nagoya tourney winner remains hot on the heels of his first back-to-back championships since 1993.

In another key bout, newly promoted ozeki Kaio (9-2) took the full force of Dejima's attack at the face-off, hurting his heavily strapped right hand in the process, but then cleverly moved to his right to send the ozeki sprawling over the bales.

The loss leaves Dejima at 8-3 while fellow ozeki Chiyotaikai, also 8-3, bulldozed Tochinohana (7-4) out after the No. 7 maegashira had looked the stronger wrestler during the opening exchanges.

In one of the day's longer bouts, Akinoshima (5-6) upset Miyabiyama (6-5) as the komusubi got the upper hand of a lengthy tussle at center ring before edging the ozeki to the left and over the edge.

Sekiwake Musoyama (7-4) dealt Tosanoumi (3-8) a series of blows to the chest before flinging the maegashira top gun into the aisle of the arena to pick up an all-important win as he continues his quest for a quick return to the rank of ozeki.

America's 12th-ranked maegashira Sentoryu grappled his way to a fourth win with a barrage of powerful thrusts before slapping down Aogiyama, fighting as No. 3 juryo division wrestler, to leave both men with a 4-7 record.

Kyokushuzan's winning streak came to an end as 15th-ranked maegashira Tochisakae (7-4) stormed out of his crouch to force the No. 14 maegashira from Mongolia out for a third loss.

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