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Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2004

Tochiazuma bounces back

The Associated Press Ozeki Tochiazuma bounced back from an opening-day loss with a win over Tokitsuumi on the second day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Winners   Losers
Kobo * 1-1   Tamakasuga 0-2
Asanowaka 2-0   Kitazakura 0-2
Takanowaka 2-0   Hayateumi 1-1
Asasekiryu 2-0   Kaiho 1-1
Wakatoba 1-1   Ushiomaru 0-2
Buyuzan 2-0   Yotsukasa 0-2
Takanonami 2-0   Aminishiki 1-1
Kokkai 2-0   Jumonji 1-1
Tochisakae 1-1   Dejima 0-2
Kinkaiyama 1-1   Takekaze 0-2
Kakizoe 1-1   Kotoryu 0-2
Shimotori 2-0   Kasuganishiki 1-1
Kotomitsuki 2-0   Miyabiyama 0-2
Kyokushuzan 2-0   Iwakiyama 0-2
Tochinonada 1-1   Hokutoriki 0-2
Wakanosato 2-0   Toki 0-2
Tochiazuma 1-1   Tokitsuumi 0-2
Musoyama 2-0   Kyokutenho 1-1
Kaio 2-0   Tosanoumi 0-2
Chiyotaikai 2-0   Tamanoshima 0-2
Asashoryu 2-0   Takamisakari 1-1
* denotes juryo class wrestler

Tochiazuma was muscled out by komusubi Wakanosato on Sunday but was all business on Monday when he overwhelmed the No. 4 maegashira at the face off and shoved his opponent out in a matter of seconds to improve to 1-1.

"I just tried to forget about yesterday's bout," said Tochiazuma. "I focused on fighting my own sumo and was able to take control early."

Tokitsuumi, who was unable to mount any defense against the hard-charging ozeki, dropped to 0-2.

Tochiazuma, who won November's Kyushu tournament and is bidding for promotion to the sport's highest rank, needs at least 13 wins in the 15-day tournament to secure promotion to yokozuna. A second straight loss on Day 2 would have virtually dashed his hopes for promotion.

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, grand champion Asashoryu of Mongolia came charging out of the blocks and used a series of powerful arm thrusts to dispatch fan favorite Takamisakari (1-1) and improve to 2-0.

In other major bouts, burly ozeki Chiyotaikai used a barrage of arm thrusts to the neck to send sekiwake Tamanoshima over the straw ridge.

Chiyotaikai was rumored to be in less than peak form before the start of the tournament but has looked impressive in posting two straight wins. Tamanoshima dropped to 0-2.

Ozeki Musoyama had his hands full with Kyokutenho (1-1) but eventually prevailed when he lifted the No. 3 maegashira out to improve to 2-0.

In a showdown of heavyweights, ozeki Kaio (2-0) deployed an arm throw at the edge to send Tosanoumi (0-2) toppling off the raised ring.

Earlier, No. 10 maegashira Kokkai improved to 2-0 when he spun Jumonji around after the face off and then bulldozed the eighth-ranked maegashira out to his first loss.

Kokkai, who is from Georgia and is the first European to compete in sumo's elite makuuchi division, landed hard on his left knee after toppling Jumonji but appeared to be uninjured.

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