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Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2003

Tochiazuma keeps on winning

FUKUOKA (AP) Ozeki Tochiazuma pulled out a ring's-edge win over Musoyama on Tuesday to defend his perfect record at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, keeping one victory ahead of hard-charging yozokuna Asashoryu.

Winners   Losers
Otsukasa 6-4   Wakatoba 5-5
Jumonji 6-4   Takekaze 5-5
Kasuganishiki 7-3   Kotonowaka 7-3
Tamakasuga 3-7   Shimotori 5-5
Yotsukasa 7-3   Buyuzan 2-8
Dejima 7-3   Hokutoriki 7-3
Kotoryu 5-5   Toyozakura 4-6
Takanowaka 4-6   Kinkaiyama 5-5
Tochisakae 5-5   Tokitsuumi 4-6
Takanonami 4-6   Kakizoe 3-7
Toki 6-4   Miyabiyama 3-7
Tosanoumi 7-3   Tamanoshima 6-4
Asasekiryu 2-8   Iwakiyama 2-8
Wakanosato 5-5   Tochinonada 6-4
Kotomitsuki 2-8   Kyokutenho 2-8
Chiyotaikai 8-2   Aminishiki 3-7
Kaio 7-3   Takamisakari 4-6
Tochiazuma 10-0   Musoyama 5-5
Asashoryu 9-1   Kyokushuzan 7-3

In a showdown against a fellow ozeki fired up by the threat of demotion, Tochiazuma (10-0) was forced back by a barrage of thrusts to the neck and face, sliding dangerously near the rope before deftly sidestepping his charging opponent (5-5) in the next-to-last bout of the day.

Asashoryu, the only grand champion left in the 15-day tourney after Musashimaru announced his retirement over the weekend, remained one off Tochiazuma's leading pace at 9-1.

The Mongolian yokozuna had to work to dispatch fellow countryman Kyokushuzan (7-3). The No. 5 maegashira came in slightly high at the charge and was almost tripped by Asashoryu, who then shoved his opponent nose-first into the dirt.

Local man Kaio (7-3) out-muscled chest-slapping komusubi Takamisakari (4-6) in a battle between the two fan favorites at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

The crowd even cheered a false start by an obviously pumped-up Takamisakari, who proceeded to wrap up the ozeki around the chest following the initial charge.

News photo
Ozeki Kaio (left) pushes out komusubi Takamisakari on Tuesday, the 10th day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

But Kaio demonstrated impressive power as he simply walked his opponent out of the ring for his seventh victory.

Chiyotaikai (8-2) showed an ozeki's experience in making short work of Aminishiki, driving back the No. 3 maegashira from the face-off and then pulling him down by the back of the neck.

Wakanosato (5-5), fighting for promotion to ozeki, won a close decision over No. 1 maegashira Tochinonada (6-4) after both wrestlers went crashing out of the ring on a desperate throw by the sekiwake.

Meanwhile, No. 12 maegashira Kotonowaka withdrew from the tournament on Tuesday after he was diagnosed with ligament damage and a strained joint in his left knee, sumo officials said.

Kotonowaka sustained the injury in a loss to Takekaze on Monday and will finish the ongoing basho with a 7-3 record with five rest days.

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