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Sunday, March 18, 2007

SPRING GRAND TOURNAMENT

Tochiazuma takes sole lead

OSAKA (AP) Yokozuna Asashoryu overpowered Kasugao on Saturday while Tochiazuma stayed in the lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Mongolian Asashoryu, who lost his first two bouts of the tournament, hauled the No. 3 maegashira down in the day's final bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium to win his fifth straight and improve to 5-2.

Asashoryu is gunning for his 21st Emperor's Cup and can ill-afford another slip-up in the 15-day tournament.

Kasugao was no match for the determined grand champion and fell to 3-4.

In other major bouts, Mongolian ozeki Hakuho stayed in the hunt for the Emperor's Cup when he forced out top maegashira Toyonoshima to sit one win off the pace at 6-1. Toyonoshima dropped to 4-3.

Earlier, ozeki Tochiazuma remained in sole possession of the lead when he shoved out top maegashira Kisenosato, who dropped to 1-6.

In addition to staying in the lead, Tochiazuma moved one win away from wrapping up the winning record he needs to maintain his ozeki status.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki kept pace and improved to 6-1 when he fought off a series of arm thrusts and forced out ozeki Chiyotaikai, who dropped to an unimpressive 4-3.

Ozeki Kaio returned to the winning track when he got both arms around Asasekiryu and muscled the No. 2 maegashira out in a matter of seconds to pick up his third win against four losses.

Asasekiryu fell to 1-6.

Mongolian komusubi Tokitenku tripped up struggling ozeki Kotooshu to improve to 3-4. Bulgarian Kotooshu has not looked strong in the first week of the tournament and dropped to 4-3.



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