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Friday, May 23, 2003

Asashoryu remains sole leader

Asashoryu looked every ounce the grand champion as he blasted out ozeki Tochiazuma to remain the sole leader at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.

Rather than get into his usual all-out street brawl, the Mongolian titan pulled the struggling ozeki off-balance before turning on the jets to send Tochiazuma flying over the edge to improve to 11-1 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.

The 22-year-old yokozuna has firmly settled in as he looks to capture his first Emperor's Cup as a grand champion while ozeki Chiyotaikai got the job done on Dejima to stay one off the pace at 10-2 with three days remaining at the 15-day meet.

Dejima (7-5) tried to sidestep Chiyotaikai immediately after the face-off but the ozeki was never fooled and stayed close to his sekiwake opponent before wrenching him forward onto the clay.

Kaio (9-3), still appearing somewhat tentative, got a firm grip on the "mawashi" belt of Kotonowaka (6-6) and sent the fourth-ranked grappler sprawling to the dirt with a crafty overarm throw.

Musoyama (6-6), who along with Tochiazuma (6-6), is still pursuing an elusive eighth win to maintain ozeki status, put Wakanosato (7-5) in an powerful armlock before flinging the sekiwake to the clay.

Top ranked maegashira Tochinonada had little trouble disposing of 12th-ranked Buyuzan (9-3) with a frontal force-out while Mongolian trickster Kyokushuzan (6-6) dumped komusubi Tosanoumi to his ninth defeat, using his trademark slap-down technique.

Kyokutenho (8-4) posted his first winning record as a komusubi by manhandling third-ranked Tamanoshima, who slipped to 6-6.

Takamisakari (4-8), who is usually bursting with energy, showed no signs of life as he dropped to his fourth straight defeat and a losing record against Kaiho (5-7), a fourth-ranked wrestler.

Veteran second-ranked maegashira Takanonami (5-7) beat Kasugao (3-9).



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