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Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004

Asashoryu remains unbeaten

FUKUOKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu hoisted Iwakiyama out on Tuesday to stay undefeated and atop the standings at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Ozeki Tochiazuma forces komusubi Tochinonada out of the ring to stay undefeated in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

After three days of the 15-day tourney, yokozuna Asashoryu was tied at 3-0 with six other wrestlers, including injured ozeki Tochiazuma and maegashira Hakuho and Kotonowaka.

Powerful and quick, Mongolian-born Asashoryu fought to get in close to Iwakiyama, grabbing his belt. With both hands, Asashoryu lifted the second-ranked maegashira off his feet and dropped him off the platform.

Most of the other top-ranked "rikishi," or wrestlers, posted wins.

Ozeki Tochiazuma buried his head and stood his ground, muscling Tochinonada out of the ring despite a knee injury.

Autumn tourney champ and hometown favorite Kaio sent the crowd into a frenzy by besting Mongolian-born Kyokutenho. With the win, the ozeki went 2-1 -- closing in on a possible promotion to yokozuna. Kyokutenho, a third-ranked maegashira, was 0-3.

Kotomitsuki's last-second leg sweep saved him from defeat, and left a shocked Wakanosato with the loss. After the two rammed chests at the face-off, sekiwake Wakanosato fended off komusubi Kotomitsuki's arm toss and had his quicker opponent air-borne. But Kotomitsuki somehow managed to trip Wakanosato to leave both wrestlers at 2-1.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai batted at Kakizoe then hauled him down face-first with a pull on the head. Chiyotaikai was 2-1, while second-ranked maegashira, Kakizoe, was 0-3.

Georgia-born wrestler Kokkai handed ozeki Musoyama a third straight defeat. Kokkai, a second-ranked maegashira, stayed low and went on the offensive, backing Musoyama against the ring's edge before flipping him to the dirt.

In other bouts, rising 19-year-old star Hakuho disposed of Tosanoumi by grabbing the sixth-ranked maegashira's belt and hoisting him out.

Kotonowaka, a fifth-ranked maegashira, won his third match by default after injured Dejima bowed out of the tourney.

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