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Monday, March 28, 2005

Asashoryu flexes his muscles to finish 14-1

OSAKA (AP) Grand champion Asashoryu overpowered ozeki Chiyotaikai on Sunday, a day after winning his 11th Emperor's Cup at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu (right) pushes Ozeki Chiyotaikai out of the ring on Sunday, the final day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Municipal Gym. Asashoryu won his 11th Emperor's Cup the day before.

Asashoryu, who defeated ozeki Kaio on Saturday to win the title, shoved out Chiyotaikai on the final day at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium to finish with an impressive 14-1 record. The Mongolian grappler has now won seven of the last eight tournaments.

Chiyotaikai struggled throughout the tournament and could only manage a losing 6-9 record.

"I didn't have as much practice as I wanted heading into the tournament," said Asashoryu. "I had to work harder and harder as the meet went on and am very satisfied with the result."

Asashoryu, who is the lone yokozuna competing in sumo, went a perfect 15-0 to win the New Year tournament and went 12-0 in the Spring meet before losing to ozeki Tochiazuma on Friday.

With 11 Emperor's Cups, Asashoryu tied Hawaiian Akebono for the second most titles by a foreign wrestler. Samoan Musashimaru, who grew up in Hawaii, leads with 12 overall.

Asashoryu has now won three tournaments in a row and will be gunning for four straight at the next tournament in May.

In other major bouts, Mongolian Hakuho made a respectable showing of his sekiwake debut when he grabbed the belt of Miyabiyama and lifted his fellow sekiwake out to finish with a winning 8-7 record. Miyabiyama closed with an unflattering 5-10 mark.

Tochiazuma sent fellow ozeki Kaio over the straw ridge with a series of powerful arm thrusts as both veteran grapplers closed out with solid 10-5 records.

Bulgarian Kotooshu, who had an otherwise disappointing tournament, finished on a winning note when he used an arm throw to send Mongolian Kyokushuzan sprawling to the dirt surface.

Kotooshu, who was making his komusubi debut, improved to 4-11 while No. 6 maegashira Kyokushuzan dropped to 5-10.

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