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Friday, Sept. 22, 2006

Asashoryu takes control at autumn basho

Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu overpowered Tochiazuma on Thursday to grab sole possession of the lead with three days remaining at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
No. 6 Maegashira Ama (right) covers his face after losing to ozeki Hakuho on the 12th day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Thursday. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu watched overnight joint leader Ama suffer his second defeat and took full advantage by flooring ozeki Tochiazuma in the day's finale to improve to 11-1 at the 15-day meet in Tokyo.

Asashoryu, who is chasing his 18th Emperor's Cup, never looked in any danger despite a brave showing from Tochiazuma (7-5) and kept his eyes on the prize by slam-dunking the ozeki down with a well-executed underarm throw.

Hakuho, whose latest yokozuna promotion campaign ended with a fourth defeat on Wednesday, did mentor Asashoryu a favor by swatting down surprise package and fellow Mongolian Ama in the day's other key bout.

After a fierce exchange of slaps and thrusts, Hakuho got both arms around his lightweight opponent and calmly lifted him off his feet and over the straw ridge for an eighth win.

Meanwhile, Russian top-ranked maegashira Roho kept his outside chances of a first title alive when he soaked up a vicious neck thrust from perennial underachiever Chiyotaikai and marched the ozeki out of the ring for an impressive victory.

Roho and rank-and-filers Hokutoriki and Aminishiki have nine wins against three losses.

Kotooshu (7-5) came through with a win for his ozeki teammates, though, the Bulgarian bruiser getting bboth hands on the front of Iwakiyama's (7-5) belt and bumped him out of the dohyo.



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