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Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2002

Asahoryu handed first defeat

Asashoryu got a bitter taste of defeat as he fell to his first loss Monday but yokozuna Takanohana continued his march of destruction at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

In an all-ozeki battle royal, Asashoryu tried to startle his opponent with a neck-throttle but Kaio was too savvy as he simply brushed away the charge to gain the upper-hand at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Kaio, who requires at least eight wins to avoid demotion from sumo's second highest rank, then sent the Mongolian reeling over the edge, handing the ozeki debutante his first loss while moving to 6-3.

Takanohana (7-2) rolled over second-ranked maegashira Toki, leaving little doubt he is still a major force to be reckoned with after a comeback from a career-threatening knee injury.

Takanohana, who missed seven straight basho, quickly disposed of Toki with minimum effort as he continued to reassure himself that his knee has healed.

Yokozuna Musashimaru and ozeki Chiyotaikai joined Asashoryu in a three-way tie for the lead.

Musashimaru appeared in trouble after getting twisted around in the day's final bout against Tosanoumi (5-4), but quickly regrouped to bludgeon the sekiwake over the edge.

Chiyotaikai got held up at mid-ring with sekiwake Wakanosato (5-4) but was able to whip the sekiwake down on to his buttocks after gaining some leverage to move to 8-1.

Ozeki Musoyama (7-2) got his left hand firmly on the belt of Takanowaka (6-3) and quickly sidestepped the fourth-ranked wrestler over the edge for a no-nonsense win.

In earlier bouts, seventh-ranked Kotomitsuki (7-2) got into a hot tussle with Tokitsuumi (4-5) but lost steam as the bout dragged on and was easily ushered over the edge by the No. 6 maegashira.

Mongolian 11th-ranked Kyokushuzan put up no resistance and was blown over the bales by No. 5 maegashira Tamanoshima, leaving both wrestlers at 5-4.



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