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Monday, Jan. 20, 2003

Asashoryu maintains lead as Takanohana loses again

The Associated Press Yokozuna Takanohana lost for the second straight day Sunday while ozeki Asashoryu maintained his lead on the eighth day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Asashoryu throws No. 4 maegashira Tokitsuumi down with an arm throw.

Fighting in the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, No. 4 Aminishiki got a hold of Takanohana's arm shortly after the face off and sent the stunned grand champion out for only his second win of the 15-day tourney.

Takanohana, who sat out Wednesday's bout due to a sore shoulder and lost to ozeki Dejima on Saturday, dropped to 4-3-1.

Sunday's loss to lightweight Aminishiki will no doubt rekindle calls for Takanohana to retire. The Futagoyama stable wrestler has looked sluggish since injuring his shoulder in Monday's victory over Miyabiyama.

Takanohana, who has won 22 Emperor's Cups, is struggling to revive his career after being forced to sit out seven tournaments due to a knee injury at the 2001 summer meet.

Earlier, Asashoryu had his hands full in a bout with Tokitsuumi but eventually prevailed when he threw the No. 4 maegashira down with an arm throw. Tokitsuumi dropped to 3-5.

The Mongolian grappler, who is bidding for promotion to yokozuna, remained undefeated at 8-0, one win ahead of Dejima, who posted a solid victory over veteran grappler Takanonami.

No. 3 maegashira Dejima burst out of the blocks and got both arms around his opponent before forcing out the larger komusubi, who dropped to 4-4.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki improved to 5-3 after he turned Musoyama around after the face-off and shoved the struggling ozeki out to his fifth loss of the tourney.

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