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Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005

Asashoryu bounces back

Yokozuna Asashoryu got back on the winning track after an opening day loss with a demolition of Kokkai on the second day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

News photo
No. 3 Maegashira Dejima forces Kaio out of the ring to hand the ozeki back-to-back defeats during second-day action at the Autumn Grand Sumo Championship on Monday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asashoryu, who was stunned in a loss to newly promoted komusubi Futeno a day earlier, got revenge against Kokkai for a close defeat to the Georgian wrestler at the Nagoya Basho in July with a convincingly victory at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In what looked more like two thugs slugging it out in an ally, Asashoryu unleashed several fierce slaps to the face and body of his opponent before sending Kokkai crashing to the clay surface in the day's finale. Asashoryu improved to 1-1 while Kokkai slipped to 0-2.

Asashoryu, who won his 13th title in July, is aiming for a record-tying sixth straight title. Former yokozuna legend Taiho is the only wrestler to record six consecutive title wins, twice in his stellar career.

Elsewhere, it was a day of misfortune for sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki.

Kaio, who is nursing an injured right hamstring, was sent over the ridge to a second straight loss after a weak struggle with Dejima, who improved to 1-1. The Tomozuna ozeki has decided to wrestle this time despite being burdened by a heavily taped leg.

Chiyotaikai, who is suffering from a damaged left knee, was waltzed over the edge by Kyokutenho (2-0) in a matter of seconds for his second straight upset. The ozeki needs to record eight wins to keep his rank this time out.

Tochiazuma was the third ozeki casualty after he fell to Kotomitsuki in the penultimate bout.

Tochiazuma took control of the bout, slapping around his opponent, but failed to finish off the job before running out of steam and being heaved over the edge, leaving both men at 1-1.

In other key bouts, giant killer Futeno busted up Kakizoe (1-1) with a series of hard shoves to chest before chasing the No. 2 maegashira out with a textbook frontal force out.

Bulgarian Kotooshu quickly flipped down Mongolian Hakuho to improve to 2-0 while sending the top-ranked maegashira to his second loss in a row, while fellow sekiwake Wakanosato (2-0) made mincemeat out of Miyabiyama (1-1) with an effective slap down.

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