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Friday, Jan. 21, 2005

Asashoryu a win away from title

The Associated Press Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu defeated Tochiazuma at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday but will have to wait another day to wrap up his 10th Emperor's Cup. No. 6 maegashira Kakizoe sends ozeki Chiyotaikai tumbling to his sixth loss at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Fighting in the final bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena, Asashoryu burst out of the blocks and stunned Tochiazuma with a crushing blow before forcing the sekiwake wrestler out to remain perfect at 12-0 in the 15-day event.

Asashoryu, who won five of six tournaments last year, has looked unstoppable in this tournament and can clinch the title on Friday with a win over sekiwake Wakanosato.

Mongolian Hakuho and South Korea's Kasugao both won Thursday and still have a faint glimmer of hope after improving to 9-3.

Sekiwake Tochiazuma, who headed into Thursday's bout with a 7-6 record against Asashoryu, dropped to 8-4.

In other major bouts, komusubi Hakuho did his part to keep things interesting for another day when he overwhelmed Kotooshu at the faceoff and bulldozed the Bulgarian-born grappler out to pick up his ninth win against three losses.

No. 4 maegashira Kotooshu fell to 6-6 with the defeat.

In an earlier bout, Kasugao, a 14th-ranked maegashira, also kept his slim hopes alive by muscling out No. 16 maegashira Aminishiki, who slid to 5-7 with the loss.

No. 4 maegashira Kakizoe (6-6) read Chiyotaikai (6-6) like a book at the faceoff and stepped to his side as the ozeki grappler fell to the dirt.

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