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Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005

Unbeaten Asashoryu stomps Iwakiyama

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Asashoryu plowed over Iwakiyama to remain unbeaten as he moved a step closer in his bid to winning a record-setting seventh straight Emperor's Cup after the second day of action at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

News photo
Komusubi Kyokutenho pushes ozeki Chiyotaikai down to the ground for an upset win Monday in second-day action at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka.

Meanwhile it was a day of mixed fortune for ozeki Kaio, Tochiazuma and Chiyotaikai while newly promoted Bulgarian Kotooshu picked up his first win by default after Futeno (0-2) withdrew from the 15-day meet with an ankle injury.

In the day's finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Asashoryu hit his fourth-ranked opponent with a barrage of slaps to the face and moved deftly to the side before marching his opponent out from behind to improve to 2-0. Iwakiyama slipped to 1-1.

Asashoryu has a chance to win all six basho this year and seven straight titles -- a feat never accomplished by a wrestler.

Kotooshu, who suffered a shock defeat to Kakizoe on Sunday, appeared set to become the first wrestler from Europe to a win a title at the autumn basho in September but relinquished a two-win lead before buckling under the pressure in a playoff with the yokozuna.

The 22-year-old gentle giant posted an impressive 13-2 record last time out but will need an equally strong performance here to earn a promotion to sumo's second highest rank of ozeki.

Tochiazuma stopped Dejima (0-2) in his tracks and got a grip on his opponent's left shoulder before swiftly dragging him to the clay to stay undefeated but Kaio (1-1) was sent packing in one-sided affair with Miyabiyama (2-0).

Kaio, who faces relegation for a record-tying eighth time and needs eight wins at this meet to keep his rank, absorbed a fierce charge from the No. 4 maegashira but retreated over the edge without much fuss.

Chiyotaikai was the second ozeki casualty, hitting the clay with a thud as he was forced onto his back after his trademark thrusts proved ineffective against komusubi Kyokutenho (1-1).

In other key bouts, sekiwake Kotomitsuki (2-0) was sent reeling onto his heels by Kakizoe (1-1) but recovered nicely at the last moment to toss his second-ranked opponent over the ridge with a well-executed arm bar throw.

In a battle of eastern European wrestlers, Georgian Kokkai (1-1) prevailed over Russian Roho (1-1), crushing his opponent back after the face-off before shoving him quickly to the clay.

Ama charged ahead to grind out winless Tokitenku to improve to 2-0, making quick work of the same opponent he got locked into a marathon bout in their last meeting in September.

Teenager Kisenosato, who was promoted to his highest rank of No. 5 maegashira after a strong showing in September, manhandled Hokutoriki, sending his opponent to a second straight loss.

Mongolian Hakuho, who tried a sneaky "henka" sidestep maneuver in his loss to Asashoryu on the opening day, slipped to a second straight defeat when he retreated and was abruptly shown an exit after the face-off.

Sumo's court jest Takamisakari got a deft right-handed grip on Kotoshogiku before slapping the seventh-ranked wrestler to the dirt, leaving both men at 1-1.

Thirty-seven-year old Kotonowaka got his hands wrapped around the belt of Hakurozan (1-1) and muscled his opponent over the straw ridge in an earlier bout to improve to 2-0.

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