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Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Asashoryu's hopes take a fall

OSAKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna debutant Asashoryu's hopes for his third consecutive championship title took a major blow Monday when he was tossed to his third loss in a meeting with the lowly Kotonowaka at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Winners   Losers
Kobo 4-5   Gojoro 4-5
Akinoshima 3-6   Tamarikido 4-5
Hokutoriki 7-2   Jumonji 6-3
Tochinohana 3-6   Asasekiryu 3-6
Kinkaiyama 3-6   Aminishiki 4-5
Kasuganishiki 4-5   Takanotsuru 3-6
Kyokushuzan 6-3   Buyuzan 6-3
Kasugao 3-6   Miyabiyama 6-3
Tokitsuumi 7-2   Kaiho 4-5
Tamanoshima 7-2   Iwakiyama 5-4
Toki 3-6   Wakanoyama 2-7
Takanonami 6-3   Takamisakari 3-6
Dejima 6-3   Tosanoumi 4-5
Wakanosato 5-4   Kyokutenho 5-4
Tochinonada 5-4   Kotomitsuki 2-7
Chiyotaikai 8-1   Kotoryu 5-4
Kaio 6-3   Shimotori 3-6
Kotonowaka 4-5   Asashoryu 6-3

Ozeki Chiyotaikai, however, got back on the winning track by burying his opponent in a hailstorm of slaps and thrusts on the ninth day of action at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Chiyotaikai moved to 8-1 to retain the sole lead with three journeymen wrestlers at 7-2 and the new yokozuna in third place in a flock of eight grapplers on 6-3.

The 22-year-old grand champion from the land of Ghengis Khan looked nothing like a warrior as he set himself up for the kill against the big No. 3 maegashira in the day's final bout.

Kotonowaka, who is a dismal 4-5, pinned up Asashoryu in a reverse full nelson and easily read a poor attempt at an outside leg trip before dumping Asashoryu to the clay as the crowd erupted wildly and "zabuton" cushions flew into the ring.

The yokozuna walked off cringing and holding his left elbow.

Chiyotaikai, meanwhile, was serious business on a one-way express as he blasted out Kotoryu (5-4) to resolve his relegation worries with his eighth win in Osaka.

Ozeki Kaio, who has been struggling in his comeback after a two tourney absence due to an injury, gave a devastating display of power with a well-worked belt throw against third-ranked Shimotori (3-6).

He moved to 6-3 in a tie with the yokozuna and moved a step further to posting the necessary eight wins to keep his ozeki status.

In other bouts, a listless Kotomitsuki slipped to his seventh loss of the meet in a one-way affair with Tochinonada (5-4) but fellow sekiwake Wakanosato sweat out a hard-fought win over No. 1 maegashira Kyokutenho to move both grapplers to 5-4.

Crowd favorite Takamisakari (3-6), a No. 2 maegashira, failed to keep his hot winning streak alive as he was twisted down by top dog maegashira Takanonami (6-3).



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