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Saturday, Jan. 24, 2004

One more win for Asashoryu

Grand champion Asashoryu defeated ozeki Kaio on the 13th day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, but will have to wait to wrap up his fifth Emperor's Cup courtesy of Kotomitsuki's win over Wakanosato.

In the final bout Friday at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu wrapped Kaio up shortly after the face off and lifted the burly ozeki out to improve to a perfect 13-0. Kaio dropped to 9-4.

The fiery Mongolian has looked dominant throughout the tournament. Heading into Friday's action, only two of his bouts have lasted more than 10 seconds.

In other major bouts, in a showdown of ozeki wrestlers, ozeki Chiyotaikai bounced back from Thursday's loss with a hard-fought win over Tochiazuma.

Chiyotaikai, who improved to 10-3, was forced to the edge of the ring but managed to keep his foot in while Tochiazuma fell out to his fifth loss against eight wins.

Tochiazuma headed into the New Year tourney hoping for promotion to grand champion but will fall short of the 13 wins he needed to move up the ranks.

In an earlier bout, top maegashira Kotomitsuki put Asashoryu's title bid on hold when he got both arms around komusubi Wakanosato and drove his opponent out to improve to 11-2. Wakanosato dropped to 7-6.

Kotomitsuki will need to win both of his remaining matches and hope that Asashoryu loses both of his just to force a playoff on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Mongolian Kyokushuzan, a No. 2 maegashira, made short work of Tamanoshima when he swatted down the sekiwake grappler shortly after the face off.

Kyokushuzan improved to 7-6 while Tamanoshima fell to 4-9.

In a battle of heavyweights, No. 2 maegashira Iwakiyama was outmaneuvered at the face off but recovered to shove sekiwake Tosanoumi out to improve to 5-8. Tosanoumi fell to 3-10.

Further down the ranks, No. 10 maegashira Kokkai, who wrapped up a winning record in his makuuchi debut on Wednesday, lost to No. 5 maegashira Kakizoe when his hand touched the surface before his opponent was shoved out.

Kokkai, who is from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, is the first European to compete in the sport's elite division.



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