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Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001

Koto captures Emperor's Cup

Kotomitsuki flipped over former college teammate Kaiho for his 13th win of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday to claim his first championship since turning professional two years ago.

Yokozuna Musashimaru, meanwhile, fought off upset-minded komusubi Wakanosato for only his ninth win of the tourney at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan while sekiwake Tochiazuma set himself up for a shot at ozeki in November by notching an 11th win.

In the day's featured bout, Kotomitsuki made one false start at the face-off but got the second one right as he locked onto the sash of the smaller Kaiho.

The No. 2 maegashira from the Sadogatake stable then whipped Kaiho over with a belt throw from the right inside grip to secure the championship with a 13-1 record and one day to go in the 15-day tourney. Kaiho slipped to 9-5.

Kotomitsuki, who turned pro in the spring of 1999, brought the Sadogatake stable its first title since former sekiwake Kotonishiki won the Kyushu tourney in November 1998 as a No. 12 maegashira. "It's like a dream. This is unbelievable," Kotomitsuki said after securing the championship. "I've been really nervous these last few days, but have been able to move better than I thought."

The 25-year-old native of Aichi Prefecture won 27 amateur titles as a student at Nihon University.

In other bouts, defending champion Musashimaru fended off the attempted headlocks of Wakanosato (6-8) for his ninth win as he attempts to salvage a measure of respectability in the tourney.

Tochiazuma, meanwhile, who went 10-5 in July, threw No. 7 maegashira Hayateumi (6-8) over with a belt throw from the outside grip for his win.

The win means that Tamanoi stable sekiwake could be considered for promotion to sumo's second highest rank of ozeki if he can post 12-13 wins in November.

The tournament's lone remaining ozeki, Musoyama (10-4) was toppled for a fourth loss as he was tripped up attempting a belt throw against Kyokutenho. The Mongolian No. 8 maegashira improved to 9-5.

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