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Friday, Jan. 19, 2007

Asashoryu fends off Chiyotaikai's challenge

Grand champion Asashoryu survived a fierce challenge from Chiyotaikai on Thursday to move a step closer to winning his 20th Emperor's Cup at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu forces ozeki Chiyotaikai out of the ring to remain the sole leader at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Thursday. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, ozeki Chiyotaikai came bursting out of the faceoff with a barrage of arm thrusts to the head of Asashoryu.

Mongolian Asashoryu was pushed back several steps but turned the tables by grabbing Chiyotaikai's arm and shoving the veteran wrestler out to improve to 11-1 heading into the final three days of the tournament.

Chiyotaikai fell to 8-4. Asashoryu is one win ahead of Toyonoshima.

In an earlier bout, No. 9 maegashira Toyonoshima kept the heat on Asashoryu when he got both hands on the belt of Takamisakari and lifted the fifth-ranked maegashira out to improve to 10-2. Takamisakari stands at 6-6.

Mongolian Hakuho wrapped up the winning record he needs to maintain his ozeki status for the next tourney when he caught Kotooshu off-balance after the faceoff and shoved his fellow ozeki out to improve to 8-4.

Bulgarian Kotooshu dropped to 8-4 to fall out of contention for the Emperor's Cup.

Mongolian Ama also ensured himself of a winning record when he spun Kaio around after the faceoff and shoved the ozeki out from behind to pick up his eighth win.

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