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Sunday, May 25, 2003

SUMMER BASHO

Asashoryu's hopes put on hold

The Associated Press Mongolian Asashoryu will have to wait another day for a chance to win his first title as grand champion.

Ozeki Kaio deployed a powerful arm throw on Saturday to send Asashoryu tumbling over the straw ridge in the final bout of the second last day of the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

With the victory at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Kaio improved to 11-3 while Asashoryu dropped to 12-2. Kaio could force a playoff with a win on the final day but would need another loss by Asashoryu to do so.

Asashoryu, who was promoted to sumo's top rank earlier this year, is seeking his first tournament win as a yokozuna.

Before becoming grand champion, the 22-year-old Mongolian won two Emperor's Cups but failed to capture one in his debut in March.

Asashoryu was overpowered by Kaio in Saturday's bout and was unable to get a hold of Kaio's belt before being thrown out by the veteran grappler.

In an earlier bout, ozeki Chiyotaikai dropped out of contention for the Emperor's Cup after a loss to fellow ozeki Musoyama.

Chiyotaikai was overwhelmed by Musoyama at the face off and never stood a chance against the burly ozeki, who forced Chiyotaikai back to the edge and then used an arm throw to send him tumbling down.

Musoyama, who needs a winning record in this tourney to avoid demotion, evened his record at 7-7 while Chiyotaikai dropped to 10-4.

Ozeki Tochiazuma, also needing a winning record to avoid demotion, assured himself of maintaining ozeki status when he slapped down Miyabiyama immediately after the face off to improve to 8-6.

Miyabiyama, a No. 5 maegashira, dropped to 9-5.

In a showdown of sekiwake wrestlers, Wakanosato improved to 8-6 when he slapped Dejima down to the dirt surface. Dejima dropped to 7-7.



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