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Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005

Asashoryu throws down Kyokutenho

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Asashoryu opened up a two-win lead on the ninth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday after his closest challenger sekiwake Kotomitsuki tumbled to his second loss.

News photo
Sekiwake Kotooshu overpowers No. 5 maegashira Ama on Monday during the ninth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Asashoryu took a step closer to an unprecedented seventh straight Emperor's Cup as the 15-day meet entered the second week, toying with veteran komusubi Kyokutenho to preserve his unbeaten record at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

The Mongolian grand champion put both hands under the armpits of Kyokutenho immediately after the face-off and after an unsuccessful throw attempt, wrapped up the match with a well-timed belt-grip throw.

Asashoryu (9-0), who is also looking to become the first wrestler to win all six tournaments in a single year, set a career high of 79 wins in a year.

Kotomitsuki, who was one win off the pace entering his ninth-day bout, suffered a setback in his title chase after being sent hurling out of the ring by up-and-coming 19-year-old Kisenosato.

Kisenosato capitalized on Kotomitsuki's halfhearted charge at the face-off and easily caught the sekiwake off-balance with a powerful shove before shrugging off an attempted throw to put away his opponent. Kisenosato improved to 4-5 with his third win in four days.

Promotion-chasing Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu remained two wins off the pace after a convincing win over No. 5 maegashira Ama.

Kotooshu crouched forward from the outset of his match against Ama and quickly forced the pint-sized Mongolian over the straw bales for his seventh win.

Kotooshu kept alive his hopes of earning promotion to sumo's second-highest rank. He lost to Asashoryu in a championship playoff in September but posted an impressive 13-2 record and needs an equally strong showing this time out to earn promotion to ozeki.

In other key bouts, local favorite ozeki Kaio came within two wins of keeping his rank after defeating fourth-ranked maegashira Iwakiyama (2-7), who was slapped down to the sandy surface.

Fellow ozeki Chiyotaikai improved to 7-2 with a similar slap-down technique against No. 1 maegashira Tamanoshima (5-4).

Meanwhile, Komusubi Hakuho eased past top-ranked maegashira Hokutoriki.

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