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Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005

Asashoryu keeps slate clean

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu gave top-ranked maegashira Hokutoriki a sumo clinic Saturday as he maintained the lead with a spotless record for his seventh straight victory at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Sekiwake Kotomituki forces out No. 1 maegashira Hokutoriki in action on Friday at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka.

Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu, however, suffered his second shock defeat at the hands of teenager Kisenosato to move a step back in his hopes of promotion to sumo's second highest rank of ozeki, on a day of upsets at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

In the day's finale, Asashoryu proved too quick for Hokutoriki, moving in swiftly after the face-off before lifting his opponent out with both hands to move to 7-0. Hokutoriki slipped to an unflattering 1-6.

The Mongolian yokozuna is aiming to win the Emperor's Cup for an unprecedented seventh straight time and 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, showed no signs of resistance as he was promptly shoved onto heels and dumped into the ringside seats to fall to 5-2. Nineteen-year-old Kisenosato improved to 3-4.

Kotooshu had a nightmare start to the 15-day meet with a first-day loss and after a win by default, bounced back to win five straight, but a second defeat has now dented his hopes of becoming the first wrestler from Europe to win a title.

In the day's other upset, ozeki Kaio, who faces relegation for a record-tying eighth time, was defeated by Mongolian komusubi Hakuho (5-2) in a weak display as he dropped to his third loss. Kaio must post eight wins to keep his rank.

Chiyotaikai, meanwhile, peppered injury-hit Futeno with a salvo of slaps and thrusts to the body before ramming the No. 2 maegashira over the edge to improve to 5-2. Futeno, who returned to the meet after four rest days due to injury, slipped to his third defeat.

In other key bouts, sekiwake Kotomitsuki (6-1) forced out Miyabiyama (4-3).



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