Two wrestlers at the top

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 March, 1994, 12:00am

SEKIWAKE (junior champion) Kotonishiki and lower-ranked Akinoshima moved into a two-way tie for the lead at 8-1 as American Musashimaru and Kaio suffered their second defeats in the ninth day of the 15-day Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, Japan.

American yokozuna (grand champion) Akebono is one step behind the co-leaders at 7-2 with five other wrestlers - ozekis (champions) Takanohana, Musashimaru and Takanonami, number one maegashira (senior wrestler) Kaio and number 12 maegashira Takatoriki.

Wrestling before 9,000 spectators, Kotonishiki charged number five maegashira Tomonohana with hand thrusts and threw him down. Number 10 maegashira Akinoshima grabbed number 11-ranked Hamanoshima's belt and bulldozed him out.

In other major bouts, Akebono, or Chad Rowan, quickly grabbed number three maegashira Kotonowaka's belt tightly and forced him out, handing Kotonowaka his sixth defeat against three victories. Takanohana, seeking his second consecutive tournament victoryand promotion to yokozuna , sent out komusubi (junior champion second class) Tochinowaka from behind. Tochinowaka is 2-7.