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Monday, Sept. 17, 2001

DAY 8

Kotomitsuki takes sole lead in Tokyo

Kotomitsuki gunned down Mongolia's Asashoryu in the battle of the pacesetting maegashira Sunday to grab the sole lead with seven wins and one loss at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Grand champion Musashimaru recovered from back-to-back losses with a win over Tokitsuumi but there were more upsets for the beleaguered ozeki camp as Miyabiyama, Musoyama and Chiyotaikai went down like dominoes at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In a much-anticipated bout between the tourney's unlikely co-leaders, top maegashira Asashoryu failed to follow up a crunching charge and allowed his second-ranked opponent to regain his composure before the giant-killing duo locked horns at mid-ring.

It was a mistake that proved to be fatal.

Asashoryu launched an attack from the left but by that time one-time sekiwake Kotomitsuki had already read the feisty Mongolian's tactics and countered from the right to bundle him out of the ring for the win.

Despite the loss, Asashoryu remains in contention for his first Emperor's Cup at 6-2 along with rank-and-filer Daizen, who threw down the 13th-ranked Kitazakura (5-3).

Defending champion Musashimaru looked far from convincing in the day's final bout against No. 4 maegashira Tokitsuumi but the yokozuna eventually prevailed with a force-out win which leaves both men two wins off the pace at 5-3.

Meanwhile, it was Takanonami (3-5) who set the alarm bells ringing in the ozeki camp when the fifth-ranked maegashira cast further doubt on Miyabiyama's ability to cut it at sumo's second-highest rank by sending his opponent out from behind for a fifth loss. Then, Musoyama slipped to his second straight defeat, going down to fourth-ranked Kaiho (5-3) before Chiyotaikai was barged out by third-ranked Tosanoumi (4-4).

Chiyotaikai sustained an injury in the bout and pulled out of the 15-day meet nursing a 4-4 record.



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