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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Asashoryu improves to 10-0

OSAKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Asashoryu tossed down Tochinonda to maintain his spotless record on the 10th day of action at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

News photo
Sekiwake Miyabiyama forces Kaio out of the ring to hand the ozeki his second loss of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on Tuesday.

But ozeki Kaio fell to a second defeat in a bout with sekiwake Miyabiyama, seeing his title hopes take a huge hit as Asashoryu widened his lead with just five days remaining in the 15-day meet.

The fiery grand champion from Ulan Bator won his 25th straight bout and improved to 10-0. In January, Asashoryu took the New Year's title with a perfect 15-0 record and is aiming to claim his 11th Emperor's Cup.

Kaio and rank-and-filers Roho and Kaiho are still in contention, two wins off the pace at 8-2.

As the wrestlers braced for impact in the final bout at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium, it was clear by the yokozuna's glare that defeat was not an option against the fourth-ranked maegashira.

Tochinonada (6-4) put up a good fight and appeared to move Asashoryu off-balance for a split second, before the yokozuna got both hands on his opponent's belt and flipped him hard to the clay.

However, Kaio was sluggish from the start against his sekiwake rival and after a few shoves back and forth, went sailing over the edge without fight. Miyabiyama improved to 4-6.

Also at ozeki, Tochiazuma took a spill in a bout with newly promoted sekiwake Hakuho, while Chiyotaikai muscled out Kokkai of the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

Tochiazuma had Hakuho on the ropes at the edge of the ring before the Mongolian wrestler quickly moved to the side and rammed the ozeki out to a fifth defeat. Hakuho, who had double-digit wins in his last three tournaments, improved to an unimpressive 4-6.

Chiyotaikai (6-4) absorbed a strong charge from Kokkai (5-5) before using his trademark thrusts to shove the fourth-ranked wrestler over the raised-ring.

Roho, a Russian No. 6 maegashira wrestler, took the easy street with a sidestep maneuver immediately after the faceoff, sending Kotomitsuki flying off-balance to post his eighth win. Kotomitsuki stood at 7-3.

Crowd favorite Takamisakari hung his head low as he walked back to the dressing room after being muscled out quickly by Tosanoumi, leaving both men at 6-4.

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