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Sunday, July 18, 2004


Asashoryu one win away from fourth straight Emperor's Cup

NAGOYA (AP) Asashoryu clung to a slim lead Saturday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament with a hard-fought win over Chiyotaikai.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu forces ozeki Chiyotaikai out of the ring to take the sole lead, with a 12-2 record, on the 14th day of Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Grand champion Asashoryu fought off a barrage of arm thrusts in the final bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium and got both arms around Chiyotaikai before lifting the ozeki wrestler out to improve to 12-2 and maintain a one-win lead over four others.

Chiyotaikai, who dropped to 9-5, put up a good fight but couldn't derail the determined yokozuna.

Asashoryu will have a shot at his fourth straight title and eighth overall on the final day Sunday when he takes on ozeki Kaio.

In a showdown of ozeki, Kaio fought off an arm throw and shoved Musoyama out to stay in contention with an 11-3 record. Musoyama dropped to 8-6.

Five wrestlers -- Asashoryu, Kaio, Miyabiyama, Toyozakura and Asasekiryu -- still have a shot at the title.

In other major bouts, sekiwake Tochiazuma dodged to one side and swatted Miyabiyama down to his third loss against 11 wins.

After exchanging arm thrusts, Tochiazuma timed his footwork perfectly to send the No. 7 maegashira falling to the dirt.

Tochiazuma, who is looking to get back to the ozeki ranks, improved to 10-4.

In a showdown of rising stars, Asasekiryu kept his title hopes alive when he used a textbook arm throw to send Hakuho sprawling to the dirt surface.

Asasekiryu, a No. 10 maegashira improved to 11-3 while handing eighth-ranked Hakuho his fourth loss against 10 wins.

No. 14 maegashira Toyozakura also improved to 11-3 and stayed in the hunt when he shoved out No. 15 Futeno in an earlier bout. Futeno dropped to 9-5.

Fan favorite Takamiskari, a No. 7 maegashira, put on a show for the crowd when he flipped Shimotori over at the edge to pick up his seventh win. Fourth-ranked maegashira Shimotori stands at 9-5.

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