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Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2002

Takanohana immediately returns to winning ways

Yokozuna Takanohana looked back to his devastating best on Tuesday as he mugged Shimotori to notch his second win of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Takanohana, who suffered the ignominy of going down to rank-and-filer Kyokutenho on Monday, needed only a matter of seconds to dispose of the winless second-ranked maegashira, sending a fiercely partisan crowd at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan into raptures.

Takanohana, on the comeback trail after missing seven straight tournaments with a knee injury, appeared to have regained the confidence he lacked 24 hours earlier as he quickly locked on to Shimotori's belt before gobbling him up like a Venus flytrap.

Meanwhile, grand champion Musashimaru also had an easy day to move to 2-1 but both yokozuna trail the pride of Ulan Bator, new ozeki Asashoryu, the only wrestler in sumo's top two ranks with a flawless 3-0 record.

There was to be no repeat of Kyokutenho's giant-killing feat in the day's final bout as Samoan-born powerhouse Musashimaru ushered the Mongolian maegashira over the edge of the ring for his first loss with the simplest of shoves.

In contrast, rising star Asashoryu came perilously close to being the latest big name victim to be slain by veteran komusubi Takanonami but luckily hit the dirt a second after a tussle at the edge of the ring to stay perfect on his debut at sumo's second highest rank.

Yokozuna promotion candidate Chiyotaikai barely flinched after a clash of heads at the face off and needed minimum effort in picking up a bread-and-butter victory over winless No. 3 maegashira Kotoryu.

Elvis impersonator Toki (1-2) made the mistake of coming in too low at the charge against Kaio, who charged him over the straw bales to pick up the second of eight wins needed to avoid demotion from ozeki.

Musoyama (2-1), meanwhile, was in no mood to be humiliated for the second straight day as he put his shock defeat to Takanonami on Monday behind by squashing new komusubi Takamisakari (0-3).

At sekiwake, Tosanoumi (3-0) had little trouble in steamrollering Tochinonada (0-3) to maintain his perfect record.

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