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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2003

Asashoryu, Tochiazuma showdown set

FUKUOKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu defeated Chiyotaikai on Saturday at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament to set up a thrilling showdown with ozeki Tochiazuma on the final day.

Winners   Losers
Toyozakura 6-8   Ushiomaru 10-4
Takanowaka 6-8   Jumonji 7-7
Tochisakae 7-7   Tamakasuga 5-9
Kakizoe 7-7   Otsukasa 5-9
Hokutoriki 10-4   Yotsukasa 8-6
Dejima 11-3   Kotoryu 7-7
Takekaze 8-6   Kinkaiyama 6-8
Wakatoba 7-7   Tokitsuumi 7-7
Shimotori 7-7   Takanonami 5-9
Buyuzan 4-10   Aminishiki 4-10
Tamanoshima 9-5   Kasuganishiki 8-6
Tosanoumi 9-5   Toki 8-6
Kotomitsuki 9-5   Asasekiryu 3-11
Takamisakari 5-9   Tochinonada 8-5
Iwakiyama 5-9   Miyabiyama 5-9
Wakanosato 7-7   Kyokutenho 3-11
Musoyama 8-6   Kyokushuzan 8-6
Tochiazuma 12-2   Kaio 9-5
Asashoryu 12-2   Chiyotaikai 10-4

In a heated exchange at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Asashoryu absorbed a series of powerful arm thrusts to the head by ozeki Chiyotaikai shortly after the face-off.

Chiyotaikai, who entered the bout needing a win to have any chance at the title, desperately tried to grab hold of the yokozuna's belt but Asashoryu broke free from his opponent and swatted Chiyotaikai down in the center of the ring to improve to 12-2.

Chiyotaikai dropped to 10-4 and fell out of the title chase.

Asashoryu, who was upset by Kaio on Friday, won the Autumn tournament and is chasing his fifth Emperor's Cup. On Sunday, he'll face Tochiazuma for all the marbles.

Ozeki Tochiazuma bounced back from Friday's loss to Chiyotaikai and stayed in the hunt with a comprehensive win over local favorite Kaio.

Tochiazuma came in low at the face-off, absorbed a blow to the face but then got his arms around Kaio and drove his fellow ozeki out to improve to 12-2. Kaio dropped to 9-5.

In other major bouts, Musoyama, who needed a winning record in this tournament to maintain his ozeki status, was all business in a bout against Mongolian Kyokushuzan.

Musoyama came charging out of the blocks and dispatched the No. 5 maegashira in a matter of seconds to improve to 8-6, nailing down his winning record. Kyokushuzan dropped to 8-6 with the loss.

In a battle of sekiwake wrestlers, Wakanosato got both arms around Kyokutenho and waltzed the Mongolian grappler out to improve to 7-7. Kyokutenho fell to 3-11.

Earlier, former ozeki Dejima muscled out No. 7 maegashira Kotoryu (7-7) to improve to 11-3.

Dejima will face No. 3 maegashira Tamanoshima on the final day.

Meanwhile, fan favorite Takamisakari, a komusubi, slapped down top maegashira Tochinonada (8-6) to pick up his fifth win against nine losses.

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