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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Four share lead at Spring Basho

OSAKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu defeated Kakizoe on Wednesday to remain unbeaten and tied for the lead with familiar company at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

In Wednesday's final bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Mongolian Asashoryu forced newly-promoted komusubi Kakizoe back to the edge after the face off.

Winners   Losers
Roho* 4-7   Wakanoyama 1-10
Harunoyama 7-4   Toyozakura 3-8
Futeno 4-7   Chiyotenzan 2-9
Kotonowaka 8-3   Toki 6-5
Kaiho 7-4   Takekaze 6-5
Asanowaka 4-7   Yotsukasa 5-6
Asasekiryu 11-0   Kotoryu 6-5
Ushiomaru 6-5   Kasuganishiki 3-8
Buyuzan 7-4   Kokkai 7-4
Tochisakae 6-5   Kinkaiyama 3-8
Jumonji 3-8   Takamisakari 6-5
Takanonami 4-7   Iwakiyama 5-6
Tosanoumi 2-9   Aminishiki 2-9
Tokitsuumi 5-6   Tamanoshima 5-6
Miyabiyama 7-4   Kyokushuzan 2-9
Kyokutenho 6-5   Shimotori 4-7
Kotomitsuki 4-7   Dejima 5-6
Musoyama 8-3   Hokutoriki 7-4
Kaio 11-0   Tochinonada 5-6
Chiyotaikai 11-0   Wakanosato 5-6
Asashoryu 11-0   Kakizoe 4-7
* denotes juryo class wrestler

Kakizoe briefly recovered, but the burly yokozuna refused to give ground and got a right-hand grip of the belt before shoving his opponent out to stay perfect at 11-0. Kakizoe fell to 4-7.

Asashoryu, who won the New Year tourney with a perfect 15-0 record, is tied for the lead with Chiyotaikai, Kaio and compatriot Asasekiryu.

In other major bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai deployed a rapid-fire series of arm thrusts to the upper body to send Wakanosato tumbling off the raised ring.

Chiyotaikai maintained his unbeaten record while sekiwake Wakanosato dropped to 5-6.

Ozeki Kaio continued his impressive run and kept pace with the front-runners after an impressive win over Tochinonada (5-6).

After forcing his opponent to the edge, Kaio wrapped his right leg around Tochinonada's leg and tripped the No. 3 maegashira up to improve to 11-0.

Musoyama picked up the winning record he needs to maintain his ozeki status when he fought off an arm thrust to the head and muscled out No. 6 maegashira Hokutoriki to post his eighth win against three losses. Hokutoriki fell to 7-4.

In an earlier bout, rank-and-filer Asasekiryu got both hands on the belt of Kotoryu and lifted the No. 10 maegashira out to remain perfect at 11-0.

Asasekiryu, a 12th-ranked maegashira from Mongolia, has shown the poise and confidence of a grand champion so far in this tournament.

Elsewhere, No. 9 maegashira Buyuzan overpowered Kokkai to improve to 7-4.

Kokkai, from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, looked out of sorts in Wednesday's bout and lost his balance after the face off to drop to 7-4.

Sixth-ranked maegashira Jumonji wrapped up Takamisakari at the face off and bulldozed the No. 8 maegashira out in a matter of seconds to improve to 3-8.

Fan favorite Takamisakari, who won his first four bouts of the tournament, dropped to 6-5.

Struggling sekiwake Kotomitsuki twisted down Dejima for only his fourth win against seven losses. No. 2 maegashira Dejima dropped to 5-6.

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