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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Asa cruises to win, remains unbeaten

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Grand champion Asashoryu stayed undefeated with a demolition of rank-and-filer Kakizoe on the third day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

News photo
Kisenosato muscles out Kotooshu on Tuesday, the third day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's final bout, the Mongolian brawler went on a full-throttle attack, wrapping his hands quickly around Kakizoe before shoving the No. 3 maegashira hard into the ringside seats to improve to 3-0 at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Asashoryu, who is in the hunt for his 17th career title and first since the spring meet in March, refrained from using his ailing right arm for the third straight day, using his left hand to topple his opponent over the edge. Kakizoe slipped to 1-2.

Ozeki Hakuho, who captured his first career title in the absence of injury-hit Asashoryu in May, remained composed as he thwarted off a valiant attack from Russian Hakurozan (1-2) before moving in with a solid belt grip and grinding the No. 2 maegashira over the edge to remain one off the pace at 2-1.

The 21-year-old Hakuho is hoping to become the third ozeki to gain promotion to yokozuna after just two basho at sumo's second-highest rank since former grand champions Futabayama and Terukuni.

He would also be the third youngest at 21 years, four months, to achieve the feat.

In other major bouts, Ozeki Chiyotaikai blew away Mongolian Kyokushuzan with a relentless salvo of slaps to post his third win, while sending the top-ranked maegashira to his third defeat.

Ozeki Tochiazuma was never in danger against Kotomitsuki (1-2), absorbing the sekiwake's thrusts before ushering him out in a matter of seconds to stay at 3-0.

Tochiazuma missed the summer meet through injury and must notch eight wins to keep his ozeki status this time out.

Ozeki Kotooshu, however, hit the dirt for his second defeat in another weak display against 20-year-old Kisenosato, who choked the ozeki twice before sending him tumbling over the ridge to post his first win of the meet.

Asasekiryu out

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian komusubi debutant Asasekiryu pulled out of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday after injuring his left big toe in a bout the previous day.

The 24-year-old Takasago stable wrestler submitted a diagnosis to the Japan Sumo Association the same day, saying he will require three weeks of treatment to recover from ligament damage in his big toe.

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