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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2001

DAY 10

Kotomitsuki keeps heat on at autumn sumo

Rank-and-filer Kotomitsuki kept up the pressure Tuesday to open up his lead in the hunt for the Emperor's Cup as the focus of the bizarre Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament fell on the No. 2 maegashira.

In the day's key bout, Kotomitsuki got a piece of Daizen's belt and wrenched him sideways before tossing the No. 8 maegashira out of the ring for an emphatic win to become the only wrestler at 9-1 on the 10th day of the 15-day tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Mongolian Asashoryu (7-3), looking for a fierce showdown with Kotomitsuki, fell to the dirt against No. 3 maegashira Tosanoumi (5-5), who graciously sidestepped the rampaging top-ranked maegashira and headed off for an early shower.

Asashoryu's loss allowed Kotomitsuki to move two wins clear of four wrestlers tied for second with five days left in the tournament, which has lost one yokozuna and three ozeki to injuries.

Earlier in the day, ozeki Miyabiyama officially joined a list of withdrawals after suffering a dislocated joint in Monday's defeat and will be demoted from sumo's second-highest rank with back-to-back losing records.

Musashimaru (6-4), nowhere near the vigorous yokozuna he is known to be, redeemed a semblance of his old self with a safe win.

The grand champion from Hawaii rushed in off the charge to scoop up a struggling Takanonami (4-6) with an under-hand grab, sending the No. 5 maegashira tumbling over the edge in the final bout. At ozeki, Musashigawa stablemate Dejima's hopes of notching at least 10 wins and returning to ozeki in November evaporated when he was sent sprawling to the dirt by No. 2 Takanowaka (6-4) for his sixth loss.

Musoyama (7-3) flexed his best muscle for the downtrodden Musashigawa camp by ousting a tentative-looking Kyukushuzan (4-6), a sixth-ranked maegashira from Mongolia.

Sekiwake Tochiazuma slapped down No. 4 maegashira Kaiho (6-4).

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