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Monday, March 17, 2003

Chiyotaikai handed first loss

OSAKA (Kyodo) Grand champion Asashoryu bounced back with a heads-up win over rank-and-filer Kotoryu but ozeki Chiyotaikai suffered his first defeat at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

The yokozuna debutant from Mongolia still appeared shaky and in danger of suffering a second straight defeat in the day's final bout on the eighth day of action but got out of jail to remain one off the pace at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Chiyotaikai, who has been flattening opponents at will at the 15-day meet, was running on empty in his clash with Tamanoshima.

The ozeki banged heads with the fourth-ranked grappler only to retreat with minimum resistance as Tamanoshima (5-3) sent him sailing into the front row seats.

Chiyotaikai still maintained his lead at 7-1 while Asashoryu, aiming for his third consecutive Emperor's Cup, remains hot in the chase with five journeymen at 6-2.

In the day's finale, the usually fiery Asashoryu still appeared placid as the wrestlers vied for position. Kotoryu (5-3) moved in for a takedown but it backfired when the yokozuna used a sneaky leg trip to topple the fifth-ranked wrestler onto the clay at the last second.

Komusubi Dejima (5-3), who had an overwhelming victory over Asashoryu on Saturday, saw his momentum falter after getting yanked down by second-ranked Tochinonada (4-4).

In an all-sekiwake encounter, Wakanosato (4-4) absorbed a furious charge from Kotomitsuki (2-6) after the face-off and flung him to the clay immediately using a beltless arm throw.

Seventh-ranked Kyokushuzan (5-3) demonstrated incredible athleticism with a twisting acrobatic pull down on the ring's edge against the charging No. 9 maegashira Aminishiki (4-4).



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