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Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006

Asa maintains after boxing Iwakiyama

Grand Champion Asashoryu overpowered Iwakiyama on Wednesday to share the lead with Hokutoriki and Tochiazuma at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Ozeki Tochiazuma pulls down Kokkai on the 11th day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Mongolian Asashoryu had his hands full with the bulky No. 5 maegashira in the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan but eventually prevailed when he waltzed Iwakiyama out to improve to 10-1.

Iwakiyama, one of the biggest wrestlers in sumo, pushed Asashoryu a few steps back after the faceoff but couldn't sustain the pressure and dropped to 5-6.

Asashoryu, the only grand champion competing in sumo, won all six tournaments last year and is gunning for a record eighth straight Emperor's Cup.

In an earlier bout, No. 11 maegashira Hokutoriki overpowered Kitazakura to stay tied for the lead at 10-1. Kitazakura, a No. 17 maegashira, dropped to 8-3.

Ozeki Tochiazuma also maintained his share of the lead at 10-1 when he swatted down No, 2 maegashira Kokkai at the center of the ring.

Kokkai, who started off the tournament with upset wins over Asashoryu and Kotooshu, appeared to lose his footing while attempting to make an arm thrust and fell to 6-5.

Newly-promoted ozeki Kotooshu got both hands on the belt of Hakurozan and lifted the hapless No. 4 maegashira over the straw ridge to improve to 9-2. Russian Hakurozan dropped to 3-8.

Mongolian Hakuho hauled down fellow sekiwake Kotomitsuki to improve to 9-2. Kotomitsuki fell to 7-4.

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