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Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2004

Asashoryu remains perfect

FUKUOKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu outmuscled Mongolian compatriot Kyokushuzan on Monday to remain undefeated and in the lead after the ninth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

The yokozuna -- with a 9-0 record -- holds a one-win lead over fellow Mongolian Hakuho, Kaio, Wakanosato and Roho of Russia.

Fighting in the final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Asashoryu sprung out low after the faceoff and pummeled Kyokushuzan with a flurry of thrust and slaps that drove his opponent across the edge.

Kyokushuzan dropped to 1-8.

Fukuoka native Kaio made quick work of No. 5 maegashira Kotonowaka when he shoved his opponent across the ring and sent him tumbling backward with a decisive thrust to the chest.

With the bout, Ozeki Kaio, who hopes a strong record here will earn him a promotion to grand champion, posted his eighth straight win.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai, who had gotten off to a hapless start in 15-day meet, rose to 5-4 after defeating No. 5 maegashira Shimotori (2-7).

Elsewhere, sekiwake Wakanosato retained his position among the tournament's wrestlers tied for second place at 8-1 with a weighty shove that sent Nov. 4 maegashira Tamanoshima (3-6) over the straw ridge.

In another battle between two Mongolian heavyweights, top maegashira Hakuho improved to 8-1 to maintain his impressive run in the tourney after grabbing a hold of Kyokutenho (2-7) and pulling him down to the dirt.

Meanwhile, No. 9 maegashira Roho overwhelmed No. 16 maegashira Kisenosato to remain one win off the pace at 8-1. Kisenosato dropped to 6-3.

Viva Las Vegas

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Japan Sumo Association said Monday that Japanese sumo wrestlers will take part in an overseas exhibition tour to Las Vegas next fall.

The three-day tour beginning Oct. 7, 2005, will be the first trip the wrestlers in sumo's elite makuuchi division will be making to the United States since their 1985 New York tour.

There have been 12 exhibition tours abroad planned by the JSA so far, including the events in South Korea in February and China in June.

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