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Monday, March 21, 2005

SPRING BASHO

Asashoryu takes sole possession of lead

OSAKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu maintained his lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday with a convincing win over struggling komusubi Iwakiyama.

News photo
No. 4 maegashira Tochinonada slams No. 7 maegashira Tamanoshima to the ground on Sunday, the eighth day of the Spring Basho at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium.

Mongolian Asashoryu was pushed back at the initial faceoff in the day's finale at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium, but got both arms around his opponent and lifted Iwakiyama out to improve to a perfect 8-0. Iwakiyama is making his komusubi debut but fell to 1-7.

Asashoryu, who won the New Year tournament with a perfect 15-0 record, has now won 23 bouts in a row and is showing no sign of letting up in pursuit of his 11th Emperor's Cup.

In an earlier bout, rank-and-filer Tamanoshima fell one win off the pace and dropped to 7-1 in the 15-day tourney when he was thrown down to the dirt surface by fourth-ranked maegashira Tochinonada, who improved to 6-2.

In other major bouts, ozeki Kaio posted an easy win over Mongolian Hakuho to remain one win off the pace at 7-1.

Kaio came bursting out of the blocks and overwhelmed Hakuho, who has failed to impress in his sekiwake debut and dropped to 3-5.

Ozeki Tochiazuma deployed a series of arm thrusts to send Georgian-born Kokkai backpedaling off the raised ring.

Tochiazuma notched his fifth win against three losses while No. 4 maegashira Kokkai dropped to 5-3.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai was handed his third loss against five wins when he was fooled by Kotomitsuki at the faceoff.

No. 2 maegashira Kotomitsuki dodged to his side and then spun Chiyotaikai around before shoving him out to improve to 6-2.

Russian Roho, a No. 6 maegashira, toppled fan favorite Takamisakari to move to 6-2. Eighth-ranked maegashira Takamisakari limped off the raised ring with a 5-3 record.

Bulgarian Kotooshu picked up a hard-fought win over Mongolian Kyokutenho.

Komusubi Kotooshu, who improved to 2-6, tried to use an arm throw to send Kyokutenho to the dirt surface but lost his balance. As the two wrestlers toppled over, top maegashira Kyokutenho touched down first and was handed his sixth loss against a pair of wins.

Wakanosato, who is also wrestling as a top maegashira, got a hold of Miyabiyama's belt at the edge of the ring and flipped the sekiwake wrestler out to improve to 4-4. Miyabiyama fell to 2-6.

No. 12 maegashira Takanowaka pushed out No. 16 maegashira Otsukasa to notch his fifth win of the tournament.



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