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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Asashoryu clings to top spot

Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu was given a run for his money Wednesday but eked out a hard-fought win over sekiwake Wakanosato to remain in sole possession of the lead heading down the final straight of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Winners   Losers
Aogiyama 5-6   Otsukasa 6-5
Buyuzan 9-2   Akinoshima 5-6
Wakanoyama 5-6   Shimotori 2-9
Kotoryu 7-4   Toki 8-3
Iwakiyama 5-6   Asanowaka 6-5
Gojoro 4-7   Asasekiryu 5-6
Kasugao 3-8   Takanotsuru 0-11
Hokutoriki 4-7   Yotsukasa 5-6
Miyabiyama 7-4   Jumonji 6-5
Kaiho 4-7   Tamarikido 5-6
Tamanoshima 6-5   Aminishiki 7-4
Takanonami 4-7   Takamisakari 4-7
Kyokutenho 7-4   Tosanoumi 3-8
Dejima 7-4   Tochinonada 6-5
Kaio 8-3   Kyokushuzan 5-6
Chiyotaikai 9-2   Tochiazuma 6-5
Musoyama 5-6   Kotonowaka 6-5
Asashoryu 10-1   Wakanosato 7-4

The 22-year-old hotshot from Ulan Bator, who is aiming for his first Emperor's Cup as grand champion, improved to 10-1 to stay one win ahead of ozeki Chiyotaikai and rank-and-filer Buyuzan with four days of the 15-day meet remaining.

In the day's finale at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu got a little more than he bargained for as Wakanosato (7-4) broke out of a prolonged stalemate at the center of the ring and repeatedly shunted the yokozuna toward the straw bales.

But the fiery Mongolian managed to yank his way back into control of the bout and sent Wakanosato sprawling onto the clay surface before crashing down on top of him.

Chiyotaikai, who is hoping 13 wins and the title will be enough to get the nod for promotion to sumo's top rank, disposed of Tochiazuma (6-5) in textbook fashion, sending the troubled ozeki over the edge with a series of trademark arm thrusts.

Meanwhile, ozeki Kaio crushed Kyokushuzan (5-6) and Musoyama, who along with Tochiazuma needs eight wins to keep his ozeki rank, emerged victorious in his bout with Kotonowaka.

Kaio (8-3) secured a winning record when he snuffed out an attack from the No. 3 maegashira and completed the job with aplomb by hauling him down by the back of the neck.

Musoyama staved off relegation for another day as he sent fourth-ranked Kotonowaka (6-5) tumbling to score his fifth win of the tournament.

Upended by Asashoryu on Tuesday, sekiwake Dejima bounced back with a bread-and-butter win against top-ranked maegashira Tochinonada (6-5) and improved his record to 7-4.

In a komusubi matchup, Mongolian Kyokutenho (7-4) notched his fourth consecutive win by dishing out a good hiding to Tosanoumi, who left the ring nursing his eighth defeat.



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