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Thursday, Nov. 9, 2000

DAY 4

Takanohana continues comeback, improves record to 4-0 in Kyushu

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Takanohana's comeback continued to gather momentum with another bulldozing victory Wednesday, while Musashimaru joined his rival yokozuna in a five-way tie for the lead at 4-0 in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

Takanohana, who skipped the autumn tourney in September with an elbow injury, showed the kind of form that won him 20 Emperor's Cups as he crushed komusubi Wakanosato (1-3) to send a warning to the major title contenders at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Chasing his first championship in two years, Takanohana expertly took the sting out of his opponent's attack before turning on the power to leave Wakanosato in a crumpled heap at the edge of the raised ring.

Musashimaru followed suit in the day's final bout as the Samoan-born giant defused the explosive offense of Mongolian No. 3 maegashira Kyokushuzan (1-3) and secured a strong two-handed belt grip for a convincing walk-out win.

Meanwhile, yokozuna Akebono improved his record in the 15-day tourney to 3-1 as he shoved out former ozeki Takanonami (0-4), who is in danger of losing his sekiwake rank unless he can halt his alarming loss of form in Fukuoka.

Ozeki Dejima lost his balance against winless No. 5 maegashira Takatoriki, but had enough forward momentum going to push out the Futagoyama stable bruiser and extend his own record to 4-0.

Miyabiyama squashed No. 3 maegashira Chiyotenzan (2-2) to boost his mark to 4-0, but fellow-ozeki and Musashigawa stablemate Musoyama crashed to his second loss after slipping at the faceoff against top-ranked maegashira Akinoshima (1-3).

Earlier, Nagasaki native Takanowaka preserved his unbeaten record as the No. 8 maegashira served up a barrage of slaps to the head to leave 11th-ranked Asanowaka (1-3) face down in the dirt.

Fukuoka native Kaio, eager for a strong showing on home turf in his second tourney at ozeki, got off a powerful charge against Hayateumi (1-3) and bundled the sekiwake back over the straw bails to boost his record to 3-1.

Meanwhile, Chiyotaikai bounced back from a surprise loss on Tuesday as the Kyushu-born ozeki quickly catapulted komusubi Tochinohana (1-3) onto the ringside cushions to improve his record to 3-1.



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