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Thursday, Nov. 21, 2002

Asashoryu stumbles

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Rank-and-filer Tochinonada derailed the Asashoryu express on Wednesday, blowing away the ozeki in a surprisingly one-sided bout to hand him his first loss at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

Ozeki Musoyama also had a rough day at the office, falling to Kyokushuzan in the day's final match-up for his fourth loss while Takanonami, Dejima and Akinoshima are now the closest challengers at 8-3 vying for the coveted hardware two wins behind leader Asashoryu.

Asashoryu (10-1) appeared rigid in the pre-match ceremonial proceedings and could gather no momentum once the bout got under way against the No. 6 maegashira at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Asashoryu, who normally pummels his opponents with a hailstorm of slaps and relentless drive, slumped to the powerful thrusts of Tochinonada who slammed the stunned Mongolian over the edge with considerable ease. Tochinonada improved to 6-5.

Musoyama (7-4) got Mongolian Kyokushuzan (4-7) backtracking out of the crouch and shoved him to the edge of the raised-ring only to have the fifth-ranked grappler fling him into the seats with an arm-grabbing force-out.

Musoyama walked from the ring cringing in pain while holding his right hand.

A struggling and relegation-worried Tochiazuma (7-4) took the easy way out to move a victory from retaining his ozeki status when he immediately side-stepped and pulled down fourth-ranked maegashira Gojoro (3-8) as the crowd booed.

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