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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Asashoryu bounces back with easy win

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Grand champion Asashoryu rebounded from the previous day's shock defeat in a clinical victory over Wakanosato to take sole possession of the lead with his eighth victory at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu (right) forces maegashira Wakanosato over the ridge to clinch his eighth victory at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in Aichi Prefecture on Monday.

In the day's finale, the Mongolian brawler got back on track after his loss to Bulgarian big man Kotooshu on Sunday, bearing down at the ring's center before easily ushering his opponent over the ridge to improve to 8-1 at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Second-ranked maegashira Wakanosato slipped out of the joint lead and heads a quartet, including ozeki Kaio and komusubi Kotooshu one off the pace at 7-2.

On Sunday, Asashoryu saw his 24-bout winning streak snapped with his second loss this year following a defeat to Tochiazuma at the spring tournament in March.

The sole yokozuna is still the hot favorite to become the first wrestler to win five Emperor's Cups in a row since Chiyonofuji accomplished the feat nearly 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, Tochiazuma bounced back from a loss to Miyabiyama (5-4) a day earlier while fellow ozeki Kaio won his bout by default to stay in contention after sekiwake Hakuho pulled out with an ankle injury.

In another key bout, Kotooshu absorbed a fierce charge from Kakizoe (2-7) after the face-off and sent the top-ranked maegashira into the splits with a well-timed underarm throw to move to 7-2, one off the pace.

Coming off his huge victory over Asashoryu on Sunday, Kotooshu is a top contender for his first title in the elite division after also beating ozeki pair Kaio and Tochiazuma at the 15-day meet.

Tochiazuma picked up his sixth win after beating Dejima (5-4).

Meanwhile, the Nagoya basho has been hit with a number of injury withdrawals, including ozeki Chiyotaikai (3-6), who pulled out with ligament damage in his knee.

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