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Monday, Jan. 8, 2001

DAY 1

Yokozuna win openers

Ozeki Kaio was dragged down by newly promoted sekiwake Wakanosato and maegashira top gun Takanonami forced out Dejima in two opening day upsets at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Yokozuna Takanohana and Musashimaru and the ozeki trio Miyabiyama, Chiyotaikai and Musoyama, however, all kicked off the tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan with easy wins.

In the day's biggest upset, Kaio failed to get control of Wakanosato's belt following the initial charge and the sekiwake got the better of the tussle at the ring's edge to pull the ozeki down for the loss. Dejima, meanwhile, appeared to have the edge against veteran Takanonami at the face-off and managed to force him to the edge of the ring, but the former ozeki clamped down on Dejima's arms and used the leverage to force the ozeki out.

At sumo's ultimate rank of yokozuna, Takanohana seeking to lift his first Emperor's Cup since 1998 used his powerful right-hand grip to secure control of Tochinonada's belt and quickly hauled the komusubi down for the win.

For grand champion Musashimaru, the only other yokozuna in the tourney after Akebono pulled out of the competition with a knee injury, it was just another day at the office as the giant shoved out omusubi Takanowaka.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai looked fired up against Kotomitsuki, whose 13-2 mark at last November's Kyushu tourney elevated him to sekiwake, forcing him out with a windmill of slaps and neck thrusts.



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