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Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2001

DAY 3

Yokozuna survive on upset-filled day

Yokozuna Takanohana and Musashimaru maintained their unbeaten records in convincing fashion Tuesday, but four of the five ozeki tumbled on the upset-filled third day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

The grand champions head the leading group of five wrestlers at 3-0, which also includes rank-and-filers Kyokutenho, Tokitsuumi and Asashoryu, in the 15-day tournament in Tokyo.

Once mighty Takanohana, aiming for his first tournament victory since September 1998, pulled off yet another solid win as the holder of 20 Emperor's Cups shoved winless komusubi Takanowaka out of the ring in seconds.

In a similar belt-gripping duel, Musashimaru overpowered veteran top maegashira Takanonami, a former ozeki who backpedaled over the straw ridge with little resistance for his second defeat.

Twenty-four hours after savoring a rare upset-free day, ozeki bit the dust one by one at the hands of lower-ranked wrestlers.

Chiyotaikai suffered his first defeat in the most unexpected manner when the Kokonoe stable grappler was caught off-balance moments after the faceoff and crumbled to his right in a bout against komusubi Tochinonada (1-2). Musoyama (2-1) and Dejima (1-2) failed to add the finishing touches to their aggressive shoves and saw wins slip through their hands by last-gasp, ring-edge maneuvers from third-ranked maegashira Kaiho (1-2) and top maegashira Tochisakae (1-2), respectively.

Miyabiyama was uncharacteristically overpowered with a midring throw by No. 2 maegashira Kotonowaka (1-2) in a long bout.

Veteran Kaio (2-1) was the only ozeki to avoid an upset with a force-out win against newly promoted sekiwake Kotomitsuki (1-2).

Chiyotaikai withdraws

Ozeki Chiyotaikai announced his withdrawal from the ongoing New Year Grand Sumo Tournament after sustaining an ankle injury in his loss to komusubi Tochinonada on Tuesday.

Chiyotaikai suffered ligament and bone damage in his right ankle, and a doctor told the 24-year-old Kokonoe stable wrestler he needs two months to recover.



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