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Saturday, March 20, 2004

Asashoryu keeps slate clean

OSAKA (AP) It was business as usual Friday as grand champion Asashoryu defeated Tochinonada and the ozeki pair of Kaio and Chiyotaikai kept pace with solid wins on the sixth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Mongolian Asashoryu remained perfect at 6-0 when he turned the tables on No. 3 maegashira Tochinonada in the day's final bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

After shoving Tochinonada to the edge, Asashoryu was pushed back momentarily but took control of the bout and used a powerful arm thrust to send his opponent flying out of the ring for his third loss.

Asashoryu captured his fifth Emperor's Cup with a 15-0 record at the New Year tourney and is the odds-on favorite here.

In other major bouts, ozeki Kaio remained tied for the lead when he got both arms around Mongolian Kyokutenho and lifted the second-ranked maegashira out in a matter of seconds. Kyokutenho was handed his third loss against three wins.

Chiyotaikai barely broke a sweat when he used his trademark arm thrusts to send komusubi Shimotori out over the edge to remain perfect at 6-0. Shimotori, who was no match for the determined ozeki, was handed his fourth loss of the 15-day tourney.

Musoyama, who needs a winning record in this tournament to maintain his ozeki status, picked up his fifth victory with a comprehensive win over Tamanoshima.

After butting heads at the face off, Musoyama shoved the No. 3 maegashira over the straw ridge to improve to 5-1. Tamanoshima dropped to 3-3.

Mongolian Kyokushuzan used a textbook left arm throw to send sekiwake Wakanosato sprawling to the dirt. Kyokushuzan improved to 2-4 while Wakanosato dropped to 4-2.

Top maegashira Miyabiyama cruised to his second win when he used a series of arm thrusts to send struggling sekiwake Kotomitsuki to his fifth loss.

Further down the ranks, Kokkai, from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, was handed his first loss of the tourney when he was thrown down by Hokutoriki.

No. 9 maegashira Kokkai dropped to 5-1, while sixth-ranked maegashira Hokutoriki improved to 4-2.

No. 12 maegashira Asasekiryu maintained a share of the lead at 6-0 when he shoved out ninth-ranked Buyuzan, who fell to 4-2.

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