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Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2002

Asashoryu keeps rolling

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Ozeki Asashoryu laid out another victim Tuesday in No. 5 maegashira Shimotori as his sumo inferno only got hotter to remain the only unbeaten wrestler on the 10th day at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

Asashoryu, who is vying for his first Emperor's Cup, rebounded from the brink of a loss to earn his 10th win in a rematch as he moved two ahead of closest challenger Akinoshima (8-2) and three in front of ozeki Musoyama and four others at 7-3.

In the day's finale, Asashoryu quickly gained the advantage as he clasped the belt of Shimotori (6-4) from behind and maneuvered him to the edge for the coup de grace at the Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Asashoryu pressed forward but both wrestlers sailed over the bales with their body parts touching simultaneously and the judges ordered a rematch.

The pugnacious Mongolian wasted little time the second time round, hemming up Shimotori on the edge of the bales in an arm-lock before twisting sideways and flattening him with an emphatic, yet discourteous, slap to the back.

Musoyama was a little rattled and bloody above the eye in a slapfest with No. 4 maegashira Gojoro but kept his composure enough to employ a rear-push out to stay three off the pace.

Tochiazuma (6-4) appeared in trouble against Takamisakari (5-5) as the No. 4 maegashira gained leverage by twisting both arms upward, but the ozeki turned the tables for a convincing frontal crush-out.

The win pulled Tochiazuma within two wins of avoiding relegation from sumo's second highest rank.

Veteran stalwart Akinoshima used a deft arm-lock technique to yank No. 8 maegashira Aminishiki (6-4) down to the clay, giving the 14th-rank wrestler his first winning record in a year.

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