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Friday, July 14, 2006

Asashoryu picks up fifth win in Nagoya

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Asashoryu tossed aside Kyokushuzan to remain in a share of the lead with an undefeated record Thursday, while promotion-chasing ozeki Hakuho overpowered Kotomitsuki to stay one off the pace on the fifth day at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Ozeki Tochiazuma overpowers No. 1 maegashira Kotoshogiku to stay undefeated on Thursday in the fifth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu, who shares the lead at 5-0 with ozeki Tochiazuma and rank-and-filer Tochinohana, quickly moved in for the kill in the day's finale, sending winless Mongolian compatriot Kyokushuzan over the edge with a series of hard shoves to the chest at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

The grand champion is seeking his 17th career title and first since winning the spring basho in March. Though still nursing an elbow injury after missing the summer meet in May, Asashoryu appears a top favorite to bring home the tournament hardware.

Countryman Hakuho had a brief standstill against Kotomitsuki (2-3) but remained composed before moving in for a two-handed belt grip and heaving the sekiwake over the edge in textbook fashion to improve to 4-1.

Hakuho won the Emperor's Cup in May in the absence of Asashoryu and is aiming to gain promotion to sumo's ultimate rank in just his second basho at ozeki in Nagoya.

Elsewhere, Tochiazuma failed to gain leverage with a belt grip against winless Kotoshogiku but buried his chest into the top-ranked maegashira before muscling him over the ridge, keeping his perfect record in a share of the lead.

Wakanosato injured

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Sixth-ranked maegashira Wakanosato pulled out of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, citing an injury to his right knee.

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