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Monday, May 10, 2004

Asashoryu starts with a bang; 31st straight win sets record

The Associated Press Grand champion Asashoryu overwhelmed komusubi Miyabiyama on Sunday to open the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a historic win.

Fighting in the final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu got a grip of Miyabiyama's belt and calmly lifted his opponent out for the win.

Mongolian Asashoryu became the first wrestler to win 31 straight bouts in the Heisei era, surpassing yokozuna Takanohana, who won 30 consecutive bouts 10 years ago.

Asashoryu, who won the Spring tourney with a perfect 15-0 record, is the clear favorite to take home his third straight Emperor's Cup.

In other major bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai dodged a bullet in an unorthodox win over top maegashira Tochinonada.

Chiyotaikai was forced back to the edge after the face off but managed to swat his opponent down just before stepping out to pick up the opening-day win.

In a battle of heavyweights, ozeki Kaio was upset by Hokutoriki.

Top maegashira Hokutoriki went on the attack from the outset and got a hand on the throat of Kaio before sending the stunned ozeki into the first row of seats.

Ozeki Musoyama got off to a winning start with an impressive win over Asasekiryu.

Musoyama got a grip of Asasekiryu's belt shortly after the face off and then drove his opponent down to the dirt surface with an arm thrust to the neck of the No. 2 maegashira.

Sekiwake Wakanosato was all business in a one-sided win over Kakizoe.

Wakanosato, who has been mentioned as a candidate to stop Asashoryu's winning streak, came bursting out of the blocks and shoved the helpless No. 2 maegashira out in a matter of seconds.

Komusubi Kotomitsuki survived a scare when he was forced back to the edge after the face off by Dejima but prevailed when he sidestepped the No. 3 maegashira, who was carried out of the ring by his own momentum.



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