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Monday, 18 September, 2000, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK
Musashimaru stays on top
Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament
Musashimaru may have fallen in his last bout against fellow yokozuna Akebono.

But the big Hawaiian was still able to claim his eighth Emperor's Cup and first title of the year as the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo drew to a close.

The yokozuna was trying to become the first sumo wrestler in four years to win a grand sumo tournament with an unblemished record after rolling off 14 straight victories before finally being muscled out of the ring by the July tournament's champion Akebono (13-2).

In Sunday's exciting finale, 6'7" Akebono came away from the "tachiai" initial charge with the edge over Musashimaru, locking on to his sash, and then sending his opponent flying into the front row of seats

However the Samoan refused to let the defeat spoil his day, saying: "I am thrilled with the championship but I am also exhausted."

Perfect

"It has been a tough year because I have had to fight with a lot of injuries. I hope to get the perfect championship in the next tournament," he said.

  The top five
Musashimaru
14 wins/1 losses
Akebono
13 wins/2 losses
Wakakosho
12wins/3 losses
Kaio
11 wins/4 losses
Wakanosato
11 wins/4 losses
Newly promoted "ozeki" champion Kaio matched his 11-4 in the last tournament gaining strong victories over fellow ozeki wrestlers Chiyotaikai, 10-5, Dejima, 10-5, and Miyabiyama 8-7.

In other bouts, the top division's only mainland American Sentoryu had a disappointing tournament, racking up five wins to ten losses at only his second basho at makuuchi level, despite a last day victory over fifth-ranked maegashira Oginishiki (5-10).

The autumn basho was also marked by the retirement of two of the sport's more popular wrestlers.

Thrilled

Sumo's oldest active wrestler Mitoizumi, who thrilled crowds with sky-high salt tosses before entering the dohyo, has retired at the grand old age of 38. He rose to the rank of sekiwake and won his first and only tournament in 1992.


It has been a tough year because I have had to fight with a lot of injuries. I hope to get the perfect championship in the next tournament
  Musashimaru
Kotonishiki, who also rose to sekiwake,has decided to call it a day after an interesting career in which he set the record for the longest gap between tournament victories.

Kotonshiki threatened to rise to the rank of ozeki after he won his first tournament in 1991, but was slowed down by injury and had to wait seven years before claiming his next title.

Mitoizumi plans to be a sumo elder while Kotonishiki plans to open a restaurant.

Maegashira Hayateumi and Tochinohana were awarded the technique prize. Wakanosato, also a maegashira, won the fighting spirit award, but no one was given the outstanding performance prize.

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23 Jul 00 |  Other Sports
Akebono wins despite last day upset
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