Kyodo News Service
Friday, January 22, 1999
TOKYO -- Yokozuna Wakanohana, bidding for his first Emperor's Cup since being promoted to sumo's highest rank last summer, hit a roadblock Friday as he lost his first bout of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament to sekiwake Musoyama.
loses first bout
Musoyama, 9-4, went on the attack from the outset, forcing the grand champion back with a violent arm thrust to the throat shortly after the face-off of the penultimate bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Wakanohana retaliated by getting both hands on the sash of his larger opponent and muscling him back to the edge of the ring and appeared on his way to his 13th straight victory of the 15-day meet.
But Musoyama held his ground and, just as he was about to be shoved out, sidestepped the grand champion's charge and swatted down Wakanohana, now 12-1.
In a battle of struggling ozeki with 6-6 records, Hawaiian-born Musashimaru went for the throat of Takanonami shortly after the face-off with several arm thrusts and had little trouble forcing out the hapless Futagoyama stable wrestler.
Sekiwake Chiyotaikai, meanwhile, kept the pressure on Wakanohana heading into the final weekend after fighting off a series of arm thrusts by Toki, 6-7, and shoving the No. 4 maegashira out in a matter of seconds to improve to 11-2.
Third-ranked maegashira Akinoshima stayed just barely in contention for the Emperor's Cup as he improved to 10-3 when he got both hands on the belt of Dejima and walked the komusubi out to his sixth loss against seven wins.
Yokozuna Takanohana, having one of his worst tournaments in recent memory, salvaged a measure of pride by assuring himself of a winning record with a convincing victory over sekiwake Kotonowaka.
Takanohana, 8-5, fought off an arm-throw attempt by the Sadogatake stable wrestler and then got his right hand on his opponent's belt and threw him down, handing Kotonowaka a 6-7 record.
Earlier, rising star Miyabiyama -- up from the second-tier juryo division for the day -- improved to 12-1 to clinch his second straight juryo title with a win over No. 14 maegashira Chiyotenzan, 9-4.
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