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Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002

Trio leads the way at basho

Yokozuna Takanohana pulled down a rampaging ozeki Chiyotaikai to move into a three-way tie for the lead as fellow grand champion Musashimaru fell victim to some fancy footwork by Kaio at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

Kaio also got a share of the lead at 11-2 with two days left in the 15-day tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, with Chiyotaikai and seventh-ranked maegashira Kotomitsuki one win behind.

To the amazement of the crowd, Takanohana used a sidestep maneuver to avert Chiyotaikai's charge as the bout got under way.

Off-balance and his momentum over the bales, Chiyotaikai regrouped and stampeded forward, only to be yanked to the sandy surface for the loss and saw his hopes of being promoted to yokozuna all but disappear.

In the day's finale, Kaio started backpedaling and looked in trouble against the massive Samoan but employed an outside leg trip to send the 230-kg yokozuna crashing onto his back.

In other ozeki upsets, Asashoryu (9-4) fell from contention with his fourth loss in five days when he bumped heads with sekiwake Wakanosato (8-5), who kept the usually pugnacious ozeki at bay before shoving him over the bales for a surprisingly easy win.

Kotomitsuki (10-3) turned the tables on Musoyama (7-6) while teetering near the edge, twisting the ozeki down for a convincing win.

Komusubi stalwart Takanonami (6-7) hemmed up third-ranked Kyokutenho in an armlock for a clean frontal force-out, handing the third-ranked Mongolian wrestler his seventh loss.

Eleventh-ranked Mongolian Kyokushuzan (7-6) had to wait another day for an elusive winning record after he was blasted out by No. 9 maegashira Gojoro (6-7).

Takatoriki calls it a day

Former sekiwake Takatoriki submitted his official resignation to the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) on Friday, ending his 19-year sumo career at the ongoing Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

"I've been allowed to wrestle on my own terms (for all these years) but my power has been drained," said Takatoriki, who is currently an 11th-ranked wrestler in the second-tier juryo division.

The 34-year-old Hyogo native decided to bow out after falling to his ninth loss Thursday as he would face demotion to the makushita division for the Kyushu meet in November.

Takatoriki made his professional debut in March 1983 and took seven years to climb into the top makuuchi division, where he claimed one tournament victory and won the Fighting Spirit Prize a record 10 times.

Takatoriki has not missed or withdrawn from a tournament since his debut and is placed third in the all-time list with 1,456 lifetime appearances, including 975 consecutive makuuchi bouts.



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