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Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2002


Takanohana crashes against Kyokutenho

Takanohana's comeback attempt hit a snag on Monday when the grand champion was handed a shock defeat by Mongolian No. 3 maegashira Kyokutenho on the second day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Takanohana, who has missed the last seven tournaments due to damaged ligaments in his right knee, looked a pale shadow of the wrestler who has won 22 Emperor's Cups and was punished for a lapse of concentration in the final bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Takanohana uncharacteristically surrendered control of his belt to Kyokutenho after the charge, although he looked to have done enough for a second win when he forced his opponent onto his tiptoes on the edge of the ring.

A final push from Takanohana (1-1) had both heading for dirt surface but Kyokutenho reacted smartly by pulling the yokozuna's right leg from underneath him to secure a second straight win.

Meanwhile, rival grand champion Musashimaru and yokozuna wannabe Chiyotaikai bounced back from opening-day losses in convincing fashion.

Samoan-born giant Musashimaru needed no fancy techniques, just the full force of his 231-kg frame to belly-bounce out third-ranked maegashira Kotoryu (0-2).

Nagoya champion Chiyotaikai bullied Tochinonada (0-2), toying with him like a pit-bull chewing on an old slipper before blasting the top-ranked maegashira him over the edge for his first victory.

Asashoryu, the first Mongolian to reach sumo's second-highest rank, scored another easy win by yanking down former ozeki Miyabiyama (1-1).

Kaio, who needs eight wins to avoid demotion from ozeki, bounced back from an opening-day defeat to charge out new komusubi Takamisakari (0-2) but Musoyama (1-1), back in action after missing the Nagoya meet through injury was handed a shock defeat by veteran Takanonami (2-0).

Elsewhere, Mongolian No. 11 maegashira Kyokushuzan broke his duck by sending 13th-ranked Akinoshima (1-1) tumbling on to the ringside seats on top of the referee, who was left nursing a gash on his forehead.

Sekiwake Tosanoumi pulled down No. 2 maegashira Shimotori for his second straight win of the basho while fellow sekiwake Wakanosato also marked his second win by pushing out No. 4 maegashira Tochisakae.

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