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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Asa clinical in fourth win

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Asashoryu put on a clinic against rank-and-file youngster Kotoshogiku to keep his unbeaten record going after four days at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday, while promotion-chasing Hakuho earned his third win.

News photo
Kaio pushes out Miyabiyama on Wednesday, the fourth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu, one of four unbeaten wresters in the 15-day meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, sent winless top-ranked maegashira Kotoshogiku rolling down on the sandy surface by unleashing a powerful belt-grip throw with his injured right arm.

Kotoshogiku showed little resistance to the attacking moves by the yokozuna, who has had his right elbow heavily taped since returning from an injury layoff at the summer meet in May.

The grand champion is in the hunt for his 17th career title and first since his triumph at the spring meet in March.

Mongolian compatriot and ozeki Hakuho won his third straight match after suffering an opening-day loss, holding his composure against Russian Roho (2-2) in a battle for favorable belt grips.

Hakuho wrapped his hands quickly around Roho to hold his belt with both hands and after denying the No. 3 maegashira an upper-hand belt grip, crouched forward for a convincing shove-out win.

Hakuho is aiming to win his second straight title and become only the third wrestler in the modern sumo era to gain promotion to sumo's ultimate rank in just his second basho at ozeki.

In other key bouts, Chiyotaikai stayed unbeaten with another convincing win, spinning around Kyokutenho in the middle of the ring after a relentless salvo of slaps before disposing of the winless No. 2 maegashira with a timely pull-down technique.

Fellow unbeaten ozeki Tochiazuma maintained a share of the lead without showing any signs of the effects of the injury that forced him to pull out of the May meet, dispatching third-ranked maegashira Kakizoe (1-3) in a matter of seconds with several thrusts.

Miyabiyama (2-2) suffered another setback in his bid to return to the ozeki rank with a loss to veteran ozeki Kaio (3-1), who bulldozed the sekiwake returnee out of the ring without little trouble. Miyabiyama is widely believed to need at least 11 wins to regain the ozeki status he lost five years ago.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu (2-2), wrestling with a nagging knee injury, unleashed a series of effective slaps to force out veteran top-ranked maegashira Kyokushuzan (0-4) for his second win.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki evened his record at 2-2 with a shove-out win against 20-year-old komusubi Kisenosato, who is wrestling in his first tournament in the prestigious "sanyaku" positions, or three ranks below yokozuna.

Sumo to tour Hawaii

Kyodo News A sumo exhibition tour of Hawaii is being planned for June 2007, the Japan Sumo Association said Tuesday.

The JSA said the tour will be the first to Hawaii since June 1993.

Sumo officials said the details, such as the number of participants, have yet to be worked out but the sumo entourage will likely stay in Hawaii for one week and take part in a two-day exhibition tournament.

The JSA will hold a sumo exhibition tour next month from Aug. 17-21 in Taiwan for the first time since the end of World War II, with elite makuuchi wrestlers participating in a two-day tournament.

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