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Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Crash of the Titans: Maru, Takanohana taste defeat

Musashimaru and Takanohana were both victims of giant-killing acts Tuesday as the yokozuna pair tumbled to defeat on a day of upsets at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Miyabiyama let his rank down for the second time in three days with another embarrassing defeat to a less-fancied opponent, although fellow ozeki Dejima, Kaio and Musoyama all remained unbeaten at 3-0 in the 15-day tourney at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Takanohana, who won his first championship since 1998 at the New Year meet, saw his chance of a repeat take a knock as sekiwake Tochinonada (2-1) burst from the blocks and quickly sent the 21-time Emperor's Cup winner over the edge in the day's final bout.

Moments earlier, hometown favorite Chiyotenzan, a No. 2 maegashira, outfoxed Musashimaru at the edge by twisting to his right to send the Samoan-born giant over the straw bails for his third win and second upset victory in three days.

Sekiwake Tochinonada forces yokozuna Takanohana out of the ring.

Miyabiyama, Chiyotenzan's victim on Sunday, made schoolboy mistakes against veteran No. 3 maegashira Takanonami, who took advantage of the ozeki's low dive to gain control of the sash and swing his opponent out to improve to 2-1.

Dejima, meanwhile, moved within five wins of retaining his ozeki rank by shooting down maegashira top gun Kyokutenho in textbook fashion to leave the Mongolian grappler nursing an 0-3 record.

Musoyama kept his perfect record intact by blasting out No. 4 maegashira Tokitsuumi (1-2) for an easy win, while veteran Kaio survived an early scare before forcing out winless komusubi Tochiazuma to stay among the front-running pack at 3-0.

Mongolian trickster Kyokushuzan, a No. 5 maegashira, failed to register his first win of the tourney after fourth-ranked Takanowaka barged the former komusubi out and improved his record to 2-1.

Mongolia's Asashoryu fell to his first defeat to rank-and-filer Tosanoumi (3-0), who twisted the sixth-ranked maegashira down at the third attempt to complete a miserable day for the Mongolian trio.



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