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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Asashoryu prevails in battle of Mongolian sumo wrestlers

OSAKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu overwhelmed Mongolian compatriot Hakuho on Wednesday to remain in the sole lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Sekiwake Hakuho defeated Asashoryu in November's Kyushu tourney but was no match for the determined yokozuna in the day's finale at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium.

Asashoryu, who is gunning for his 11th Emperor's Cup, improved to a perfect 11-0 and enjoys a two-win lead over No. 6 maegashira Roho. Hakuho, who is making his sekiwake debut, dropped to 4-7.

Asashoryu has now won 26 bouts in a row going back to the New Year tourney.

In other major bouts, Kaio fell a further win off the pace when he was shoved out by Georgian-born Kokkai to fall to 8-3. Kaio already has the winning record he needs to maintain his ozeki status but Wednesday's loss all but dashed his slim chances of winning the title.

No. 4 maegashira Kokkai, who lost to Chiyotaikai on Tuesday, improved to 6-5.

Ozeki Tochiazuma got both hands on the belt of Tochinonada (6-5) and hoisted the fourth-ranked maegashira out over the edge to pick up his sixth win against five losses.

Sekiwake Miyabiyama read Chiyotaikai like a book when he sidestepped the charging ozeki at the faceoff and swatted him down to improve to 5-6. Chiyotaikai, who is often guilty of an overzealous initial charge, dropped to 6-5 and slapped the dirt surface in frustration.

News photo
Russian no. 6 maegashira Roho (right) locks arms with No. 10 maegashira Kaiho as he earns his ninth victory of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

In an earlier bout, Russian Roho, a sixth-ranked maegashira, remained two wins off the pace at 9-2 when he got Kaiho in an arm lock and flipped the diminutive No. 10 maegashira over at the center of the ring. Kaiho fell to 8-3.

Bulgarian Kotooshu was assured of a losing record in his komusubi debut when he was shoved out by Kakizoe to fall to an unflattering 3-8.

No. 2 maegashira Kakizoe fought off a series of slaps to the head then and forced Kotooshu to the edge where he drove him out to move to 5-6.

Elsewhere, second-ranked maegashira Kotomitsuki got both arms around fan favorite Takamisakari and marched the No. 8 maegashira out to improve to 8-3. Takamisakari didn't intimidate Kotomitsuki with his pre-bout face slapping routine and dropped to 6-5.

Mongolian Kyokutenho picked up his fifth win when he swatted out Dejima.



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