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Monday, March 22, 2004
SPRING GRAND SUMO TOURNAMENT
Asashoryu shows no sign of letting up
OSAKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu kept his momentum going Sunday when he overwhelmed Tamanoshima to remain undefeated at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
Asashoryu barely broke a sweat in the final bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium when he spun his opponent around at the face off and shoved him out from behind to improve to 8-0.
No. 3 maegashira Tamanoshima dropped to 3-5.
Asashoryu, who won the New Year's tourney with a perfect 15-0 record, has looked equally dominant this time out and is tied with Chiyotaikai, Kaio and rank-and-filer Asasekiryu for the lead.
In other major bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai used his trademark arm thrusts to send Tochinonada tumbling off the raised ring.
Chiyotaikai, who remained tied for the lead at 8-0, briefly lost his footing when Tochinonada sidestepped the charging ozeki at the face off, but recovered nicely to keep his unblemished record. Tochinonada dropped to 4-4.
In a battle of heavyweights, Kaio got a left-hand grip of Tosanoumi's belt and hung on for dear life before forcing the No. 4 maegashira out to remain tied for the lead at 8-0.
It's been a tough campaign for Tosanoumi, who dropped to an unflattering 1-7.
Musoyama, who needs a winning record in this tourney to maintain his ozeki status, hit a snag when he was forced out by Kotomitsuki to fall to 6-2.
With the hard-fought victory, sekiwake Kotomitsuki put a halt to six straight losses and improved to 2-6.
In a showdown of newly-promoted komusubi, Shimotori came out on top when he forced Kakizoe to the edge and flipped his opponent over to give both wrestlers a record of 3-5.
In an earlier bout, No. 12 maegashira Asasekiryu maintained his share of the lead when he twisted down lower-ranked Yotsukasa, who fell to 4-4.
In a keenly watched bout in the lower echelons, Kokkai manhandled fan favorite Takamisakari to remain one victory off the pace with a 7-1 record.
No. 9 maegashira Kokkai, from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, sent Takamisakari back with a surge after the faceoff and then got his hand on the neck of his opponent and thrust the No. 8 maegashira out in a matter of seconds. Takamisakari dropped to 5-3.
No. 2 maegashira Dejima shoved out Mongolian Kyokushuzan to improve to 4-4.
That dropped top-ranked maegashira Kyokushuzan to 2-6.