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Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001

DAY 9

Musashimaru dumped with fourth loss

Maegashira leaders Kotomitsuki and Asashoryu downed komusubi opponents on Monday to remain one-two in the chase for the Emperor's Cup at the topsy-turvy Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

But two-time defending champion Musashimaru was saddled with his fourth loss at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan as the Musashigawa stable was hit with a triple whammy on Day Nine of the 15-day basho. The Samoa-born grand champion was crossed up at the face-off by No. 3 maegashira Tamakasuga (2-7) and after being caught off balance was pushed out easily from the side.

Earlier, Musashigawa stablemate Dejima saw his chances of regaining the ozeki rank virtually disappear as he suffered a fifth loss at the hands of fellow sekiwake Tochiazuma (6-3).

Miyabiyama (3-6), meanwhile, appeared headed for an early exit to the tournament after his left knee buckled in his loss to No. 4 maegashira Kaiho (6-3).

Sumo officials later confirmed that Miyabiyama was pulling out of the tournament, leaving only Musoyama at sumo's second highest rank. Ozeki Kaio and Chiyotaikai withdrew from the tourney last week.

Musoyama (6-3) salvaged a measure of respect for the beleaguered Musashigawa stable, sending No. 4 maegashira Tokitsuumi (5-4) sailing into the ringside seats with an emphatic shove at the edge.

In Monday's key bouts, Kotomitsuki ran over Tamanoshima (4-5) at the face-off and met little resistance backing the komusubi out of the ring to preserve his lead with his eighth win against one loss. Mongolian top maegashira Asashoryu followed with a less convincing win, winning a slap-and-thrust free-for-all by slapping down Wakanosato (4-5) to stay at Kotomitsuki's heels.

Mongolia's Kyokutenho threw over 13th-ranked Kitazakura (5-4) with an outside grip on the belt in an early bout, while Daizen was shoved out by 13th-ranked Aminishiki (5-4).



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