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Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Asashoryu gets down to business

OSAKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna debutant Asashoryu got down to business with an impressive victory against Takanonami on the second day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

After a scrappy start in his career at the top of the sumo tree, the fiery Mongolian eased himself into the groove against the veteran top-ranked maegashira.

Meanwhile, Kaio bounced back after an opening-day defeat but fellow ozeki Musoyama slumped to a second straight loss at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

After a mediocre performance in his victory against Tosanoumi on Sunday, Asashoryu (2-0) looked back near his best with a trademark display of power and speed to overwhelm the former ozeki.

Takanonami (1-1) simply had no answer as the Mongolian worked him to the bales and sent him flying out of the ring.

Needing eight wins in the 15-day tournament on his comeback from an arm injury to retain his ozeki status, Kaio stumbled out of the blocks Sunday with an upset against Tochinonada but got back on track with a no-nonsense win against Takamisakari (0-2).

The No. 2 maegashira's attempts to work himself and the crowd into a frenzy came to no avail as Kaio (1-1) got a firm hold on the sash and bumped him out.

Out-of-form Musoyama's woes continued with defeat against Mongolian Kyokutenho (1-1). The top-dog maegashira took command from the charge and bulldozed the ozeki out for a second loss.

But ozeki Chiyotaikai had more success against Dejima. The Kokonoe-stable grappler also needs a winning record to avoid demotion and swept past Dejima (1-1) in a matter of seconds.

After a fierce clash of heads at midring, Chiyotaikai (2-0) gave a fierce tug on the back of the komusubi's neck that was enough to drag him down.

Elsewhere, crowd favorite Kotomitsuki's push toward a promotion to ozeki was dealt a blow with a defeat to Shimotori. The No. 3 maegashira twisted the sekiwake to the dirt to leave both wrestlers at 1-1.

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