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Monday, Jan. 16, 2006
Asashoryu dominates in a flash, stays one back
Grand champion Asashoryu took apart Tochinohana to stay in hot pursuit of front-running duo Tochiazuma and Hokutoriki at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo on Sunday.
Asashoryu was all business in the day's finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan and needed only a matter of seconds to dispose of the third-ranked maegashira with a series of powerful shoves.
Asashoryu, who is one win off the pace at 7-1, won all six tournaments in 2005 and is chasing an unprecedented eighth Emperor's Cup at the New Year meet.
Tochiazuma (8-0) sent Mongolian sekiwake Hakuho (6-2) flying out of the ring after a clash of heads at the tachi-ai and was awarded the win as Hakuho's heel appeared to touch the sand outside the ring before both men went crashing into the ringside cushions.
Injury-plagued Tochiazuma came into the New Year meet with his rank on the line, but his eighth win ensured him ozeki status at the spring basho in March.
Newly-promoted ozeki Kotooshu (6-2) also won handsomely, wrapping both arms around top-ranked Tokitenku (1-7) to send him out from behind, but struggling ozeki Chiyotaikai dropped out and Kaio was handed another embarrassing defeat.
Takekaze (2-6) piled more misery on Kaio when he floored the troubled ozeki with a hand pull-down technique and condemned him to a fifth defeat.
Kaio withdrew, citing a back injury.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai (4-4) pulled out earlier in the day after sustaining a chest injury and forfeited his scheduled bout against Russian maegashira Roho (6-2).
Chiyotaikai damaged muscles in the right side of his chest and suffered a cervical vertebrae sprain in Friday's defeat to komusubi Tamanoshima and will need a month to fully recover. That defeat was followed by another loss to Miyabiyama.
Sekiwake Kotomitsuki was two wins off the pace at 6-2 after slam-dunking Mongolian fourth-ranked maegashira Asasekiryu, who fell to 2-6.
In earlier bouts, No. 11 maegashira Hokutoriki slapped about Futeno (4-4) before barging out the eighth-ranked wrestler to secure a winning record and stay in a tie for the lead with Tochiazuma at 8-0.
"I think I'm getting in well and hitting hard, and I'm pleased (to get a winning record)," said Hokutoriki.
Colorful maegashira Takamisakari won a huge round of applause after forcing seventh-ranked Kakizoe (6-2) on to his knees with an "uwatenage" overarm throw to collect his fifth win.
"There are still seven bouts to go, and I will focus on doing my best in each and every bout," said Takamisakari.