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Sunday, Jan. 19, 2003

Taka falls to Dejima; Asashoryu stays dominant

Yokozuna Takanohana never stood a chance against a rampaging Dejima on Saturday but ozeki Asashoryu put on another brilliant display of power and finesse to remain unbeaten at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

The grand champion was obliterated by the No. 3 maegashira and former ozeki, who quickly crushed his opponent out of the raised-ring in one belligerent and sweeping motion to hand him his second loss at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Takanohana, who reentered the meet on Thursday after hurting his shoulder, fell to a 4-2-1 record while Dejima and two rank-and-filers, at 6-1, stayed hot on the heels of tournament favorite Asashoryu, who continued to rule supreme at the 15-day meet.

The Mongolian hothead was momentarily backed up after he slammed into Takanowaka after the face-off but planted his feet firmly on the clay surface and never retreated.

Asashoryu then introduced Takanowaka (4-3) to a sideways wrist-twisting throw that left the sekiwake sprawled on the ground, keeping his record clean at 7-0.

Top-ranked maegashira Tosanoumi (5-2) snapped Kotomitsuki's four-day winning streak, with a no-nonsense slap-down to leave the sekiwake at 4-3.

Elvis impersonator Toki got all shook up as he slipped to his seventh-straight loss, falling to komusubi Wakanosato (5-2).

Takamisakari (6-1), a ninth-ranked maegashira, pulverized 13th-ranked Otsukasa (3-4) to stay one off the pace. Fans delighted in his wild facial expressions and chest-banging antics before the bout.

Eighth-ranked Kotoryu (6-1) slapped down makuuchi debutant Kasugao from South Korea to hand him his second loss after the 14th-ranked grappler lost his balance on the retreat.

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