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Sunday, Sept. 17, 2000

DAY 14

Musashimaru wins Autumn basho

Yokozuna Musashimaru rammed out newly promoted ozeki Kaio to win the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday and claim his first Emperor's Cup of the year.

Musashimaru dealt Kaio some devastating thrusts before pitching the ozeki over the straw bales to capture the championship at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan and notch his eighth career title.

Musashimaru will be looking to put the icing on the cake with a 15-0 perfect record Sunday where he will face fellow grand champion Akebono in the final bout of the tournament.

No wrestler has achieved a perfect 15-0 championship since yokozuna Takanohana won all his matches at the autumn tourney in 1996.

The Samoan-born yokozuna remarked that he was "tired" after the bout but that he will do his best to finish the 15-day tournament undefeated.

Akebono (12-2), meanwhile, did everything right in the day's penultimate bout easily bumping ozeki Chiyotaikai (9-5) out of the ring but could do little else but watch from the ringside as Musashimaru took the title.

In other key bouts, Dejima (10-4) burst from the blocks in typical fashion but lurched forward too quickly and handed the initiative to komusubi Takanonami (9-5) who slapped him down for the win.

Ozeki Miyabiyama (8-6), who had been in danger of losing his rank, breathed a sigh of relief after charging out Mongolia's third-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho (4-10) to retain the right to wrestle at sumo's second highest rank.

Sekiwake Musoyama (9-5), desperate to post the 10th win that will assure his return to ozeki, will have to wait until Sunday after No. 10 maegashira Wakanosato (10-4) locked onto the right of the sekiwake's belt before barging him over the ridge.

Musashimaru savors his victory Saturday.

In earlier bouts, American No. 13 maegashira Sentoryu (4-10) stumbled to a 10th loss after 11th-ranked maegashira Minatofuji flipped the St. Louis native down with a beltless arm throw.

Mongolia's No. 14 maegashira Kyokushuzan slipped to 8-6 as eighth-ranked maegashira Kaiho (7-7) forced the former komusubi out for the win.

Meanwhile, Kotomitsuki assured himself of promotion in November, after claiming the second-tier juryo division title by forcing out No. 15 maegashira Tochisakae (8-6) for a 13-1 record.



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