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Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006

Asashoryu, Ama still deadlocked at top

Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu stayed on course for his 18th Emperor's Cup with a routine win over Kotomitsuki at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament Tuesday.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu pushes out Kotomitsuki on Tuesday, the 10th day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu improved his record to 9-1 heading into the final stretch of the 15-day meet in Tokyo and remained tied for the lead with compatriot Ama, while promotion-chasing Hakuho dodged a bullet to keep his yokozuna dream alive with a seventh win.

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu wrapped up Kotomitsuki (6-4) at the charge and faced little resistance as he bumped the sekiwake off balance and disposed of him with a powerful shove to the chest.

Mongolian ozeki Hakuho was given a tough time by Tochinonada (6-4) in the preceding bout but stayed airborne a fraction longer than his opponent, whose foot touched the straw ridge, to stay in touch with the leaders.

Hakuho will have to win the rest of his bouts while claiming the title to be considered for yokozuna promotion at the end of the tournament.

Ama showed no signs of letting up and ground out a hard-fought win when the No. 6 maegashira outmaneuvered 11th-ranked Homasho (6-4) and forced him over the edge to keep his share of the lead.

In other key bouts, ozeki Kotooshu (5-5) was no match for No. 1 maegashira Roho (8-2) and crumpled in a heap after being swatted down by his European rival.

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