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Friday, Jan. 24, 2003

Asashoryu regains sole possession of lead after rival Dejima upset by Takanotsuru

By The Associated Press Mongolian Asashoryu regained sole possession of the lead Thursday as rival Dejima was upset by Takanotsuru on the 12th day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Ozeki Asashoryu gets a grip of Shimotori's belt before bulldozing the No. 7 maegashira out.

No. 3 ranked maegashira Dejima was shoved back to the edge by the larger Takanotsuru shortly after the face-off but held on by sidestepping his opponent at the last minute.

Takanotsuru, a 13th-ranked maegashira, refused to let up and threw Dejima down to improve to 9-3. Dejima dropped to 10-2 and heads into the final three days of the 15-day tournament one win back of Asashoryu.

Ozeki Asashoryu, with his right leg heavily taped, came in low at the face-off and got a grip of Shimotori's belt before bulldozing the No. 7 maegashira out to improve to 11-1. Shimotori fell to 6-6.

Asashoryu, winner of November's Kyushu tourney, is bidding to become the first Mongolian to be promoted to grand champion and could do so with a second straight Emperor's Cup here.

Yokozuna Musashimaru is sitting out the New year tourney with an injured wrist and fellow grand champion Takanohana retired on Monday.

Komusubi Wakanosato remained in the hunt for the Emperor's Cup when he forced Takamisakari to the edge and bellied the No. 9 maegashira over the straw ridge to pick up his 10th win. Takamisakari dropped to 8-4.

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Musoyama, the only other ozeki contesting the New Year tourney, muscled out sekiwake Takanowaka (7-5) for his sixth win.

Top maegashira Tosanoumi moved a step closer to a winning record with an effortless win over No. 2 maegashira Toki.

Tosanoumi drove the towering Toki out in a matter of seconds to even his record at 6-6. Toki dropped to 2-10.

In earlier bouts, Mongolian Kyokushuzan, a sixth-ranked maegashira, tossed No. 13 maegashira Kasugao over the edge to pick up his sixth win. Kasugao, from South Korea, dropped to 8-4.

Mongolian Kyokutenho, a No. 2 maegashira, shoved out Tamanoshima to improve his record to 8-4 while handing the No. 8 maegashira his sixth loss of the tournament.

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