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Sunday, Nov. 28, 2004

Asashoryu wins Kyushu Basho

Notches fifth tournament victory of the year

FUKUOKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu overpowered Chiyotaikai on Saturday to win the Emperor's Cup on the penultimate day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu forces ozeki Chiyotaikai out of the ring to clinch his fifth Emperor's Cup of the year at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Mongolian Asashoryu got a grip on Chiyotaikai's belt shortly after the faceoff at Fukuoka Kokusai Center and forced the ozeki back before sending his opponent over the straw ridge with an emphatic shove to the chest.

Asashoryu improved his record to 13-1 while Chiyotaikai fell to 6-8.

"I'm very satisfied," said Asashoryu. "I was disappointed with my performance in the last tournament so to come here and win this meet is very pleasing."

For Asashoryu it was his fifth title this year and ninth Emperor's Cup overall. His only loss in this tournament came on Wednesday when he was upset by compatriot Hakuho.

Asashoryu, who went 9-6 in the Autumn meet, also became the first wrestler to win five tournaments in a year since yokozuna Chiyonofuji achieved the feat 18 years ago.

In other major bouts, ozeki Kaio, who won the Autumn tourney, gave the local fans a thrill when he forced out Wakanosato out to improve his record to 11-3.

Kaio, a native of Fukuoka, spun Wakanosato around several times before he stepped out over the straw ridge with his left foot.

Kaio's win set the stage for Asashoryu to win his ninth Emperor's Cup as Wakanosato slipped to 11-3.

Mongolian teenager Hakuho used a left-handed belt throw to send Kotonowaka toppling to the dirt surface. Top maegashira Hakuho improved to 11-3 while No. 5 maegashira Kotonowaka dropped to 8-6.

Kaio's hopes alive

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Japan Sumo Association chief judge Oshiogawa indicated Saturday that ozeki Kaio may still be considered for promotion to yokozuna if he beats yokozuna Asashoryu on the final day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

"Personally I don't think his chances of earning promotion are zero. We'll wait and see how the atmosphere (among JSA officials in charge of wrestlers' promotion) will be if he wins tomorrow," Oshiogawa said.

JSA Chairman Kitanoumi said the association's executives will discuss whether to promote Kaio if they "receive a unanimous recommendation from the judges committee."

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