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Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2001

DAY 10

Sumo titans remain on collision course

The status quo remained intact Tuesday as Takanohana and Musashimaru cruised to 10-0 records, keeping the yokozuna rivals two wins ahead of ozeki Kaio and rank-and-filer Kyokutenho at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. Takanohana stayed on course to break a title drought dating back to autumn 1998 as he quickly latched onto the belt of No. 2 maegashira Kotonowaka and bulldozed him out of the ring in the final bout of the day at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Having lost 33 of his previous 37 bouts against Takanohana clearly did little for the motivation of Kotonowaka, who provided little resistance against the rejuvenated yokozuna, chasing his 21st Emperor's Cup.

Musashimaru tried his hand at throttling Tosanoumi (4-6) at the charge, then attempted a Pacific Island bear hug, before the No. 5 maegashira lost his footing on the sandy surface in a bid to wriggle free and handed the Samoan-born giant his 10th win of the tourney.

Kaio blew out struggling Miyabiyama (6-4) in a one-sided all-ozeki encounter to stay in touch with the leaders at 8-2.

Dejima won ugly against Akinoshima (3-7), but at least showed some ozeki pride as he squashed the No. 4 maegashira to even his record at 5-5.

Ozeki Musoyama, the defending New Year champion, clobbered Kotomitsuki, runnerup in Kyushu last November, at the charge to improve to 7-3 and leave the first-time sekiwake contemplating a big drop after picking up his eighth loss of the 15-day meet.



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