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Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006

Asashoryu forces out Futeno for victory No. 2

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu disposed of rank-and-filer Futeno to win his second straight bout at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

News photo
Ozeki Kaio slaps komusubi Kokkai down onto the ground on the second day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Monday. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's final bout, Asashoryu appeared in trouble when the No. 2 maegashira managed to back him to the ring's edge, but the yokozuna quickly recovered getting a strong belt grip on his opponent before escorting winless Futeno out of the ring.

Asashoryu is the odds-on favorite to win the Emperor's Cup after ozeki and countryman Hakuho withdrew from the 15-day meet with a broken toe.

The Mongolian brawler is aiming for third straight title and to lock down the most victories in a year for the fifth year in succession. Former yokozuna greats Taiho and Kitanoumi are the only wrestler to achieve the feat.

Meanwhile, there were no surprises at sumo--s second-highest rank as the four remaining ozeki each stayed on course with Asashoryu with wins over their respective opponents at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Chiyotaikai hit Kotoshogiku (0-2) with a salvo of his trademark thrusts before tossing the No. 2 maegashira to the dohyo surface while fellow ozeki Kaio gave his home town fans a cheer after pulling down Georgian komusubi Kokkai (1-1) to remain undefeated.

Injury-weary Kaio is wrestling with his rank on the line for a record 10th time and needs to post at least eight wins at the 15-day meet to ensure ozeki status at the next tourney.

Ozeki Tochiazuma dropped his head down low against Kisenosato (1-1), control the match from start to finish in a relentless thrusting attack, before swatting the komusubi to the dirt.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu got a left-handed grip on the back of Dejima's belt and flipped his rival using a well-timed overarm throw to improve to 2-0. Dejima, a No. 3 maegashira, slipped to 1-1.

Russian komusubi Roho (1-1) made short work of Mongolian top maegashira Ama (0-2), getting an effective right-handed grip on his opponent's mawashi before lifting out his rival.

Miyabiyama floored Iwakiyama, smacking the No. 1 maegashira forward to the dirt after the face-off to improve to 2-0, while fellow sekiwake Kotomitsuki (2-0) wrapped both rams around komusubi Aminishiki (0-2) and moved quickly to edge before depositing his rival outside the ring to stay perfect.

Mongolian veteran Kyokutenho heaved out Korean wrestler Kasugao in a matter of seconds to improve his slate to 1-1 while leaving his opponent with the same record.

Meanwhile, Kyokushuzan, who became the first wrestler from Mongolia to join sumo in 1992, retired Monday, saying he is suffering from a heart ailment. Kitazakura won their bout by default to improve to 1-1.



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