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Monday, Sept. 26, 2005

Asashoryu storms to sixth straight title

The Associated Press

Grand champion Asashoryu completed an impressive comeback Sunday, winning his sixth straight Emperor's Cup on the final day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament with wins over ozeki Tochiazuma and Bulgarian Kotooshu in a playoff.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu pushes out sekiwake Kotooshu in a playoff at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan to clinch his sixth consecutive and 14th overall Emperor's Cup.

Asashoryu equaled a 38-year-old record held by sumo legend Taiho with his sixth straight title.

In the playoff at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Asashoryu spun Kotooshu around after the faceoff and shoved the sekiwake wrestler out to capture his 14th title.

Earlier, Mongolian Asashoryu came bursting out of the blocks and leveled Tochiazuma with a left shoulder to the head of the stunned ozeki to improve to 13-2 and set up a decisive playoff with Kotooshu, who minutes earlier defeated Chiyotaikai.

Asashoryu lost on the 11th day of the 15-day meet and then reeled off four straight wins to force a playoff with Kotooshu, who was looking to become the first European to ever hoist an Emperor's Cup.

"I lost two bouts in this tournament and things weren't looking too good," said Asashoryu. "But everyone around me told me to hang in there and everything worked out in the end. I'm very happy to win this one."

Kotooshu, who had lost two bouts in a row, got both arms around Chiyotaikai after the faceoff and forced the ozeki wrestler over the edge to improve to 13-2. Chiyotaikai finished the tournament with a 10-5 record, good enough to maintain his ozeki status for the next meet.

It was a bitter loss for Kotooshu, who had a few chances to wrap up the title before Asashoryu staged his impressive comeback.

In an earlier bout, No. 16 maegashira Kisenosato kept his slim title hopes alive when he muscled out 15th-ranked Wakatoba to improve to 12-3. Wakatoba fell to 8-7.

Kisenosato would have needed losses by both Asashoryu and Kotooshu to get into a playoff.

In a showdown of top maegashira wrestlers, Mongolian Hakuho tripped up Miyabiyama to finish at 9-6. Miyabiyama had a lackluster showing and dropped to 6-9.

Mongolian Kyokutenho, a No. 3 maegashira, swatted Futeno down to pick up his 10th win while handing the komusubi grappler his 10th loss.

Eighth-ranked maegashira Tamanoshima shoved out komusubi Kotomitsuki to close out the tournament with an impressive 11-4 record.

Kotomitsuki, who put up little resistance in his final bout of the Autumn meet, fell to 9-6.



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