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Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005

Asashoryu retains sole lead at Kyushu

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Grand champion Asashoryu disposed of Kakizoe to maintain the lead with an undefeated record after the sixth day of action at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

Asashoryu never gave the second-ranked maegashira a chance in day's finale to improve to a perfect 6-0, while promotion-chasing sekiwake Kotooshu rolled over komusubi Kyokutenho to stay hot in pursuit among five wrestlers at 5-1 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Kakizoe, who fell to 0-10 in career bouts against the yokozuna, was sent backpedaling right after the face-off in a flurry of slaps, leaving him at 1-5.

The Mongolian yokozuna is aiming to win the Emperor's Cup for an unprecedented seven straight time. A victory here would also make him the only wrestler to ever win all six meets in a year.

Kotooshu, who lost to Asashoryu in playoff at the autumn basho in September but finished with an impressive 13-2 record, got both hands wrapped around the belt of Mongolian Kyokuteno (3-3) before barging him over the ridge in a matter of seconds.

The Bulgarian giant started the 15-day meet with a shock defeat, but after notching a win by default, he has bounced back as he shoots for promotion to sumo's second highest rank of ozeki and a shot at becoming the first wrestler from Europe to win a title.

In other key bouts, Miyabiyama (4-2), a No. 4 maegashira got his third ozeki kill of the meet, tossing down Chiyotaikai (4-2) by the head immediately out of the crouch.

Meanwhile, fellow ozeki Kaio, who is in danger of losing his rank for a record-tying eight time, sent Dejima to his sixth straight defeat with a beltless arm throw to move a step closer to easing his relegation worries.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki made mincemeat of top-ranked maegashira Hokutoriki (1-5), ramming out his opponent in a textbook frontal assault to stay one off the pace at 5-1.

Roho, an eight-ranked maegashira from Russia, slipped on a banana peel as he was sent sprawling to the dirt after dropping his head too low after the face-off in a bout with Mongolian fifth-ranked maegashira Ama, leaving both men at 4-2.

Up-and-coming teenager Kisenosato got a left-handed grip on the belt of Tamanoshima (4-2) before bellying out his opponent to improve to 2-4, while komusubi Hakuho (4-2) did a balancing act on one leg before flipping down Iwakiyama (2-4).

Georgian Kokkai got into barroom scuffle with winless Takanowaka before lowering his head and barreling out the No. 10 maegashira to improve to 3-3.

Fan favorite Takamisakari got the crowd hyped with his pre-bout histrionics before marching out Wakatoba in one-sided affair, improving his record to 4-2 while leaving his opponent at 2-4.



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