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Sunday, May 27, 2001

Musoyama spoils Taka's party

Ozeki Musoyama saddled Takanohana with his first loss of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday, spoiling the yokozuna's chance to claim an early victory in the 15-day tourney and giving stablemate Musashimaru a chance to win it all Sunday.

Musashimaru, meanwhile, shoved down ozeki Chiyotaikai in a match between wrestlers with 11-2 records to keep his title hopes alive at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan -- even though he will need a pair of wins against Takanohana on Sunday to claim the championship.

In Saturday's main event, Takanohana and Musoyama came to grips at center ring off the charge and the yokozuna appeared to have the advantage as he repeatedly forced the ozeki to the straw bales, appearing to have him on the verge of stepping out.

Musoyama (9-5), however, wiggled out of the situations, forcing his way back into the center of the ring. Finally, in the critical exchange, he got Takanohana leaning to the right and then twisted him down to the ring's surface.

In his spiral to the dirt, Takanohana appeared to twist his right ankle and was seen limping back to the locker room after the match.

With his title hopes reinvigorated, Musashimaru (12-2) wasted little time against Chiyotaikai (11-3) shoving the ozeki to the straw and then sending him toppling over the edge.

On Sunday, a win by Takanohana in the match-up between grand champions will give the Futagoyama stable yokozuna the 22nd Emperor's Cup of his career.

Musashimaru, on the other hand, will need to defeat Takanohana in the final bout of regulation, putting both wrestlers at 13-2, and then triumph in the winner-take-all playoff for his eighth career crown.

In other matches, sekiwake Tochiazuma (9-5) thrust out ozeki Miyabiyama (9-5) while the woes of ozeki Dejima (4-10) continued as No. 5 maegashira Takanonami (8-6) walked him out from behind.

Newly promoted komusubi Asashoryu (7-7) grappled with Hayateumi (8-6) but the No. 4 maegashira hooked him with a twisting underarm throw that spoiled his chance of securing a winning record.



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