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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Asashoryu battles through the pain to upend Kaiho

Yokozuna Asashoryu battled through the pain barrier to upend Kaiho and claim his ninth straight win at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

The saucy Mongolian hurt his left shoulder on Sunday but that did not affect the lone grand champion's performance in the day's finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan as he made mincemeat of the fourth-ranked maegashira to keep his unbeaten record in tact.

Asashoryu bided his time before going in for the kill and floored Kaiho (2-7) with a routine overarm throw to move a step closer to his fourth consecutive Emperor's Cup and his 12th title overall.

Asashoryu, who is also looking to become the second foreign-born wrestler after Samoan-born former yokozuna Musashimaru to win 12 Emperor's Cups, is one win clear of Mongolian rival Kyokushuzan and ozeki Chiyotaikai

Chiyotaikai came into the tournament with his ozeki status on the line but got the eighth win he needed to keep his rank and stayed in the title hunt, dodging Iwakiyama (2-7) at the ring's edge and slapping him down for the victory.

Ninth-ranked Kyokushuzan was given a run for his money by Tokitenku but the former komusubi proved to be an immovable object during a mid-ring tussle and dug deep to shunt the 15th-ranked wrestler over the straw bales.

In one of the day's most entertaining bouts, ozeki Tochiazuma somehow managed to stay on his feet in the face of a barrage of slaps and thrusts and saw off Miyabiyama (3-6) to stay in touch another win behind at 7-2.

Elsewhere, Hakuho (5-4) won his third straight after losing four on the trot, slamming down Tosanoumi (3-6) with a strong overarm throw in an all-sekiwake battle.

Bulgarian No. 5 maegashira Kotooshu sent Jumonji (3-6) sprawling with a one-handed belt throw to improve to 6-3 while Mongolian Kyokutenho (4-5) overpowered former ozeki Dejima, who saw his record dip to 5-4.

Kokkai of Georgia (3-6) dragged down Kakizoe to a fourth loss while Russian Roho (3-6) bumped out komusubi Wakanosato, who slumped to 4-5.

In an earlier bout, giant maegashira Kotonowaka left the dohyo dazed and with a badly cut up face after crashing face first into the dirt but picked up a third win after judges decided he had hit the deck after Aminishiki (5-4).

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