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Saturday, Sept. 14, 2002

Takanohana bounces back with victory over Tosanoumi

Rumors of Takanohana's imminent retirement had to wait Friday as the grand champion bounced back from Thursday's loss with an emphatic win at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Takanohana (4-2) appeared jittery and in possible danger of falling to a second straight loss and his third overall against a confident-looking Tosanoumi (3-3) in the finale at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

But after two false starts at the face-off, the grand champion got down to business using his infamous right-handed grip to wrap up the sekiwake at mid-ring before flipping him down hard to cheers of the partisan crowd.

Meanwhile, newly promoted ozeki Asashoryu knocked the stuffing out of Takamisakari, sending the winless komusubi reeling over the edge with a fierce throat-grab for a perfect 6-0 record.

The Mongolian ozeki remains the only grappler with a flawless record at the 15-day meet as the competition heats up with a pack of eight wrestlers one off the pace at 5-1.

In other bouts, yokozuna Musashimaru (5-1) whipped around Shimotori (1-5), using an effective right-handed belt grip to dispose of the No. 2 maegashira with minimum effort to remain among the most formidable of wrestlers chasing Asashoryu.

At ozeki, Chiyotaikai busted up No. 2 maegashira Toki (2-4) in a one-way affair, bowling over the second-ranked wrestler to move to 5-1 while Musoyama rammed out third-ranked Mongolian Kyokutenho to also stay one off the pace.

Ozeki Kaio (4-2), trying to avoid relegation from sumo's second-highest rank, shoved Takanonami (3-3) to the edge for a certain victory only to have the veteran komusubi deftly twist and belly him out from behind.

Seventh-ranked Kotomitsuki (5-1) wrenched down Mongolian No. 11 maegashira Kyokushuzan (3-3) in a matter of seconds.

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