(January 12 to 26)

Emperor's Cup Winner WAKANOHANA
Outstanding Award TOSANOUMI
Fighting Spirit Award KOTORYU
Technique Award KYOKUSHUZAN

Many people thought the final day of the grand tourney would not be worth watching. But it was! Kyokushuzan planned his bout well. He tricked Tosanoumi. Rather than moving toward him to take off to fight, the Mongolian moved aside. Kyokushuzan collected his 9th victory this tournament. He also won one of the 3 special prizes which acknowledges the great skills he demonstrated during the entire tourney. He may be promoted as far as komusubi or second class champion the next tournament. Wakanohana faced fellow ozeki Musashimaru. The attention was on whether Waka would accomplish a perfect record of 15 wins. Waka certainly overwhelmed Maru in the beginning of the bout. Maru withstood Waka's attack very near the edge of the ring. Then, Maru reversed the advantage, and Waka was the one to leave the ring first. The yokozunas were matched up. Akebono kept on losing his balance. He succumbed to his 3rd loss this tournament. Takanohana finished the tournery with 13 wins and 2 losses.

The Mongolian who is ranked at maegashira number 3 clinched his 8th win this tournament. Kyokushuzan has secured his majority win by grasping the young Tochiazuma and putting him down. Ozeki Takanonami had great difficult fighting the tall Kotonowaka. Both had a good hold of eachother's belt. Takanonami was able to win by tripping his opponent with his left leg. The major bout of the day, or you can say, of this grand tourney, was the second to the last one. The leading man, Wakanohana and the Hawaiian born grand champion Akebono who follows with one loss, faced eachother. They took eachother's belt. Wakanohana then threw the yokozuna to not only secure his 14th straight win, but also to clinch the Emperor's Cup. This is the ozeki's 3rd grand sumo tournament victory. Just for you information, Waka's younger brother Takanohana picked up the heavy Musashimaru by his belt to take him out of the ring.

The newly promoted Hawaiian to the highest division of makuuchi, Yamato, for the first time faced Konishiki, a senior wrestler from Hawaii. Yamato took Konishiki out of the ring looking unsure if he did the right thing. There was another bout fought by Hawaiians, or rather, Hawaiians turned Japanese tied with one loss. The bout started with Akebono giving Musashimaru thrusts. Then Akebono backed off. Maru could have taken advantage of that move. But he was put off by this. Akebono again pushed Maru. Maru ended about leaving the ring. Wakanohana dumped Kotonowaka on the ring for his 13th straight win. Takanohana also won. So Wakanohana remains to be the leader, followed by Akebono, and Taka and Maru tying for 3rd place. By the way, ozeki Takanonami suffered his 8th loss. It is quite a blow for an ozeki to record a majority loss. If he looses more than 8 bouts in the next tournament, he will be demoted from the champion ranking.

The Dump Truck successfully won his 8th bout this tournament. It's been 3 tourneys since Konishiki has been able to secure a majority win. Wakanohana has won a powerful sumo over Kotonishiki. Musashimaru was about to lose his balance near the end of the ring, but recovered quickly to push Tamakasuga out. Akebono gave a decisive thrust against ozeki Takanonami. Takanohana took out Kitakachidoki. So the standing of the top wrestlers remain the same from the previous day.

Ozeki ranking Wakanohana took out Asanowaka easily out of the ring and improved his winning streak to 11. In the bout following this one, two ozekis clashed against eachother. Musashimaru who has been in great shape so far, faced the inconsistent Takanonami. Maru started out well by grabbing for Takanonami's belt. Then, they seemed to have about the same grip of eachother's belt, dancing together from one corner of the ring to the other. Takanonami was the one to take Maru out of the ring. Maru succumbed to his first lost this tournament. Takanohana was able to improve his record by defeating Musoyama. The other yokozuna, Akebono looked determined to defend his perfect record. However, the Hawaiian born grand champion was pushed down by Tosanoumi to the surface of the ring. Wakanohana is now the only one who has not lost a bout this tournament.

Konishiki has again moved up his rank among the great sumo wrestlers of all times. He marked his 620th win in the makuuchi division against Ganyu. He has the 5th most number of bout victories in the highest division as a result, tying with Wajima. The bad news this day was that the Takanonami lost to Kotonishiki who also hasn't been doing well this tournament with 7 losses already. Takanonami has recorded his 6th loss this day. The bout between yokozuna Takanohana and the energetic Asanowaka was quite hilarious. Asanowaka would attack the yokozuna aggressively. He gave a final slap at Takanohana's face before tumbling off the dohyo. There's no change in the status of the leaders.

Musashimaru certainly looks invincible. His thrust drove Tosanoumi off the sumo mound. Wakanohana took out Higonoumi. Akebono was about to be pushed out of the ring. He tried to get his balance, then pushed Kaio down to the ring, almost crushing him. So the three high ranking wrestlers still hold a perfect record. Meanwhile, Takanonami lost again, this time to Tamakasuga. Tamakasuga thrusted him out after attacking his throat rigorously.

Konoshiki wasn't able to celebrate his 1043th bout in the makuuchi division--the match that surpassed the number fought by former yokozuna Kitanoumi who ranked 9th among all modern day sumo wrestlers until the 7th day. He was defeated by Kotoryu. Kyokushuzan was amazing again. He threw over the stout Musoyama. It was relieving to see Takanonami win. He had a difficult match against the samurai actor looking Asahiyutaka. But was eventually able to push him out the ring. Musashimaru, Wakanohana and Akebono still have not lost a bout.

Yamato won his 3rd straight bout. He threw over Daizen. Konishiki's victory this day improved his record to 4 wins and 3 losses. Kotonishiki won for the first time this tournment. It was to the strongman Kaio. What a bout Kyokushuzan wrestled! He faced ozeki Takanonami. Kyoku grabbed the ozeki's belt from behind and threw him over. It was an incredible feat by the Mongolian. On the other hand, Takanonami has succumbed to his 4th straight loss. Something must be wrong with him.

Konishiki's bout reminded us of the good 'ole days when he was the most powerful. Konishiki's one thrust did it to Daishi. The bout gave the Dump Truck his 3rd win. Kyokushuzan was overpowered by Takatohriki. The Mongolian turned his back toward Takatohriki which had made him completely helpless. Ozeki Takanonami has given himself his 3rd straight loss. He was pushed out of the ring by Higonoumi. Meanwhile, Takanohana was able to defeat Kotonishiki. The wrestlers with a perfect record so far are Akebono, Wakanohana and Musashimaru.

Who would have imagined Takanohana facing his 2nd loss only 5 days into the tournament. Takanohana was pushed down to the ground in a matter of a second by veteran wrestler Tochinowaka who took the yokozuna's neck from behind. Takanonami too lost in a very close match against Kitakachidoki in which both wrestlers appeared to fall on the ring at the same time. A great bout was held between Tosanoumi and Higonoumi-- both fought sumo as university students. There were 3 times when one of them was about to go over the ring. The fans would take a deep breath at every move. But at last, Tosanoumi took Higonoumi out of the ring. Kyokushuzan faced ozeki Wakanohana for the first time. Wakanohana lost his balance in the beginning. He recovered quickly and pushed out the Mongolian wrestler.

Takanohana dropped to the ground! His opposing wrestler, Tosanoumi attacked Takanohana from the start. Then he shoved the yokozuna, and pulled away suddenly. Takanohana lost balance and touched the ring. Takanohana faced his first lost of the tournament. Also, stablemate Takanonami lost to Kenko. The ozeki seemed to be in an advantageous position, taking Kenko to the edge of the ring first, but their positions were reversed in the end. Up and coming Mongolian, Kyokushuzan was pushed out of the ring by Asanowaka.

Konishiki marked his 700th win in sumo. Terao surpassed Chiyonofuji's record by making his 1053rd appearance in the makuuchi division. It makes Terao rise to number 8 in the number of makuuchi bouts. The most looked forward to bout of the day was Kyokushuzan vs. Akebono. Kyukushuzan started in the far end of the ring deliberately. But was easily defeated by the grand champion.

Yamato lost again. This time, to veteran wrestler Misugisato. Konishiki marked his first win by toppling Shikishima. The most exciting bout of the day was Kyokushuzan against Kaio. Kyokushuzan defeated the high ranking Kaio by taking his leg at the edge of the ring. All ozekis and yokozunas won their bouts.

Yokozuna Takanohana who missed the entire tourney last time, is back. He's really grown during the break he's taken. He's believed to weigh more than 160 kilos now, which is a gain of about 12 to 13 kilos. Still, he's the top candidate to win this tournament. Takanohana easily threw Oginishiki out of the ring on the first day. The other Yokozuna, Akebono also won after having some difficulty with the pestering sumo taken by veteran wrestler Akinoshima. Expectation is also high on Musashimaru who won the Kyushu tourney and the good looking Kaio who both had a good start. Yamato from Hawaii has been newly promoted to the makuuchi, or the top most division. His real name is George Haywood. He went to school together with Akebono from kindergarten to high school. It was a strange first day for Yamato in the top division. He was stopped by the referee just before he was about to be thrusted out of the ring by Shikishima. That was because his thick sash belt was on the verge of coming off. The bout was resumed and Yamato was unfortunately forced out of the ring. Mongolian wrestler Kyokushuzan is ranked maegashira number 3 this time. He's in the position of challenging the highest ranking wrestlers for the first time. He pulled the skillful sekiwake-ranked Kotonishiki down to the ring when their bodies bended toward eachother very close to the ground.

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