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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Asashoryu leads six-pack at 3-0

OSAKA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu shot down rank-and-filer Kotomitsuki on Tuesday to keep a perfect record with his third victory at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
No. 4 maegashira Kokkai slams down sekiwake Miyabiyama to stay unbeaten Tuesday on the third day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

In the day's finale, Asashoryu gave the former sekiwake a raw hiding to improve to 3-0, disposing of Kotomitski with a series of hard slaps to the face at Osaka Municipal Gym.

The victory was the grand champion's 17th compared with six for Kotomitsuki (2-1) in head-to-head matches. Asashoryu hopes to take home his second straight Emperor's Cup after winning the New Year meet with a perfect 15-0 record.

Meanwhile, newly promoted sekiwake Hakuho's nightmare start continued with his third defeat in a match with Tochinonada while it was a day of mixed fortunes for the three ozeki at the 15-day meet.

Kaio, who needs eight wins to keep his ozeki status, overpowered Kakizoe, sending the No. 2 maegashira to the clay with a bone-crushing mash to the face to remain perfect. Kakizoe dropped to 1-2.

But Chiyotaikai (2-1) got a dose of his own medicine when he hesitated after the faceoff and was blasted into the front-row seats by Tosanoumi, who moved to 3-0.

The Kokonoe-stable ozeki, usually known for his thrusting attacks, never had a chance to get rolling as his No. 3 maegashira opponent moved in for a quick kill.

Tochiazuma picked up his first win after winning a battle with Kotooshu, a newly promoted komusubi from Bulgaria. The ozeki shoved the goliath over the edge still seeking his first win of the meet after a 9-6 performance in January.

Hakuho (0-3), who just turned 20 last Friday, stood toe-to-toe with his fourth-ranked maegashira opponent but lost the plot when he tried to move in for a leg trip and was sent sprawling onto his back. Tochinonada improved to 2-1.

Elsewhere, Georgian Kokkai, a fourth-ranked maegashira, circled about the ring to outmaneuver Miyabiyama before swatting down the sekiwake to post his third victory, while leaving Miyabiyama winless.

Komusubi Iwakiyama was quickly shoved over by former ozeki Dejima, who got both hands wrapped around his opponent before heaving him out to a third defeat. Dejima moved to 2-1.



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