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Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004

Asashoryu keeps on rolling

The Associated Press Grand champion Asashoryu flung Tosanoumi onto his back on Tuesday, as the sport's only active yokozuna extended an impressive run of victories at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament. Yokozuna Asashoryu throws down No. 4 maegashira Tosanoumi at Ryogoku Kokugikan during third-day action at the Autumn Grand Tournament.

After three days of the 15-day tournament, Asashoryu and six other wrestlers in the top division remained undefeated.

But the Mongolian yokozuna remains the favorite, as he chases a fifth straight Emperor's Cup this year. Only three others have won five or more titles in a row since the current six annual tournament system began in 1958.

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, No. 4 maegashira Tosanoumi tied up Asashoryu's arms to keep him at bay. But Asashoryu absorbed Tosanoumi's charge, twisted and flipped the lower-ranked wrestler to the dirt.

Asashoryu's dominance stood in contrast to the spotty performances of other wrestlers in the top ranks. Among the four ozekis, only Chiyotaikai and Kaio had unblemished records after the day's bouts.

Chiyotaikai beat No. 3 maegashira Hakuho within seconds of the face-off. Chiyotaikai met Hakuho's charge, then quickly stepped to the side and pulled the 21-year-old Mongolian past him and into the dirt. It was Hakuho's second defeat.

Mongolian No. 4 maegashira Asasekiryu used the same move to hand ozeki Musoyama his third straight loss. Asasekiryu's record rose to 1-2.

Kaio recovered from a near-tumble to shove out No. 3 maegashira Tochinonada. At the face-off, Tochinonada's attempted arm throws had Kaio off-balance, but the bulky ozeki hung on long enough to recover his footing and easily overpower his lower-ranked opponent.

Tochiazuma suffered his first loss after slipping and falling to one knee just as he lunged at Kyokutenho. Kyokutenho, a komusubi, was 2-1.

In other bouts, sekiwake Wakanosato was downed by komusubi Kotomitsuki, leaving them both at 1-2.

After a slipup the day before, Kotooshu returned to winning form, using his longer reach to shepherd Hayateumi out of the ring. The 21-year-old Bulgarian, who improved to 2-1, is wrestling in the top division for the first time.

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