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Monday, Sept. 25, 2006

Asa finishes strong

One day after claiming his 18th career Emperor's Cup, Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu overpowered ozeki Hakuho in a thriller to finish his campaign on a high note at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu (left) forces down ozeki Hakuho to finish the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament with a 13-2 record on Sunday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu rebounded from his loss to ozeki Chiyotaikai the previous day, finishing with a 13-2 record after winning his second consecutive title.

"Yesterday, I lost so I really was trying to do my best to win today. I didn't have a victory in Tokyo this year, so I was really happy to do it for the fans here," Asashoryu said.

In the day's final bout, both wrestlers got inside close for firm belt grips but Asashoryu ground his countryman to the edge before muscling Hakuho over as both men when sailing into the ringside seats. Hakuho, who saw his dream of yokozuna promotion dashed at the 15-day meet, finished with an unflattering 8-7 record.

"I'm waiting for the day when I can have another yokozuna rival to challenge," Asashoryu said.

In other key bouts, Russian Roho (10-5) got his fourth giant kill of the Tokyo meet, getting a left-handed grip on Tochiazuma's mawashi immediately after the face-off before shoving his opponent over the straw bales from the rear. Tochiazuma finished at 9-6.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu finished on 10-5 after wrapping up rival ozeki Chiyotaikai with a textbook frontal force out. Chiyotaikai also ended at 10-5.

Mongolian No. 6 maegashira Ama, who was in the running for the title with Asashoryu until falling to Tochiazuma on Saturday, won his first Fighting Spirit Prize after crunching out Hokutoriki, who finished on 10-5.

Ama, who finished at 11-4, posted double-digit wins for the first time in the elite makuuchi division.

Aminishiki, a No. 3 maegashira, won his third Technique Prize with an 11-4 record after pulling down Georgian Kokkai, who finished at 8-7.

Miyabiyama unleashed a series of thrusts against sekiwake Kotomitsuki before slapping his opponent forward to the dirt to improve to 9-6 and kept alive hope of a chance at ozeki promotion with a strong showing at the Kyushu meet in November.



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