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Monday, Sept. 18, 2000

DAY 15

Akebono spoils Maru's 'perfect day'

Akebono muscled out Musashimaru on the final day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament Sunday to hand his fellow yokozuna with his only loss of the 15-day event.

Musashimaru, who had secured his eighth Emperor's Cup and first title of the year on Saturday, finished the championship at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan with a 14-1 record while Akebono's victory lifted the Hawaiian giant to his 13th win.

In Sunday's finale, Akebono locked onto Musahimaru's sash and marched his rival to the edge of the ring before getting in a final shove that saw Musashimaru land in the front row of seats.

Musashimaru, however, refused to let the defeat dampen his championship spirits.

"I haven't been in such good shape this year, but I trained really hard and lost about 20 kg for this tournament. So, I'm pleased to have won the title," he said.

"I couldn't win all of my matches this time so I'll give it my best shot at the Kyushu tournament in November."

In Sunday's other key bouts, sekiwake Musoyama (10-5) tore into Wakanoyama (7-8) at the faceoff before blasting the sixth-ranked maegashira out of the ring to register the required 10th win that assures him a return to sumo's second highest rank of ozeki in Kyushu.

Newly promoted ozeki Kaio finished an impressive tourney with a convincing 11th win by tossing out fellow ozeki Miyabiyama (8-7).

Chiyotaikai forced out Dejima in another battle of ozeki to leave both men with a tourney record of 10-5.

In other bouts American No. 12 maegashira Sentoryu's second tournament in the makuuchi division ended with a losing 5-10 record despite slapping down fifth-ranked maegashira Oginishiki (5-10) for a final-day win.

Mongolia's No. 14 maegashira Kyokushuzan closed with a 9-6 record after disposing of eighth-ranked maegashira Asanowaka (6-9) with an overarm throw.

Compatriot Kyokutenho's tournament, on the other hand, hit rock bottom as the No. 3 maegashira crashed to his 11th defeat at the hands of komusubi Akinoshima (7-8).

Maegashira Hayateumi and Tochinohana were awarded the technique prize. Wakanosato, also a maegashira, won the fighting spirit award, but no one was given the outstanding performance prize.

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