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Friday, March 25, 2005

Asashoryu improves to 12-0, zeros in on Emperor's Cup

OSAKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu moved a step closer to his 11th Emperor's Cup on Thursday with a comprehensive win over Miyabiyama at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu unleashes an upper-arm throw to sekiwake Miyabiyama to stay undefeated Thursday in the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Fighting in the day's final bout at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium, Mongolian Asashoryu used a textbook arm throw to send sekiwake Miyabiyama tumbling to the dirt surface to improve to 12-0.

Asashoryu won the New Year tourney with a perfect 15-0 record and has now won 27 bouts in a row. The Mongolian grappler could wrap up the title as early as Friday.

Former yokozuna Futabayama still holds the sport's longest winning streak at 69 consecutive wins, between 1936 and 1939. At the time, sumo tourneys were held only twice a year, compared with six a year now.

In other major bouts, Russian Roho fell a further win off the pace and dropped to 9-3 when he was shoved out by ozeki Kaio. Kaio, No. 6 maegashira Roho, seventh-ranked maegashira Tamanoshima and No. 10 Kaiho all stand three wins back of Asashoryu in the hunt for the Emperor's Cup.

Elsewhere, Mongolian Hakuho improved to 5-7 when he was swatted down by Chiyotaikai at the center of the ring. Ozeki Chiyotaikai dropped to 6-6.

Hakuho was promoted to sekiwake before the Sping tourney but has struggled in his debut at sumo's fourth highest rank.

Ozeki Tochiazuma posted a hard-fought win over No. 5 maegashira Dejima to improve to 5-7. Dejima, who was sporting a nasty bruise on his shoulder from his loss to Asashoryu earlier, dropped to 6-6.

Georgian-born Kokkai, a No. 4 maegashira, overwhelmed struggling komusubi Kotooshu to improve to 7-5. Bulgarian Kotooshu was promoted to komusubi after the New Year tourney but has failed to impress in his new rank and dropped to an unflattering 3-9.

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