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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Asashoryu deals Kotomitsuki first defeat of Nagoya tourney

Joins Hakuho and promotion-chasing sekiwake at top

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu dealt Kotomitsuki a decisive blow, sending his promotion-chasing sekiwake rival to his first defeat to leave three wrestlers in a share of the lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu, top, gets a firm grip on Kotomitsuki, throwing him for his first loss of the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's finale at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Asashoryu came to a standstill with Kotomitsuki after getting his right hand inside for a firm grip on his opponent's mawashi before flinging the sekiwake down with a well-timed throw.

Asashoryu, who suffered an opening-day upset to sekiwake Aminishiki, moved into a share of the lead with newly promoted grand champion Hakuho and Kotomitsuki at 10-1 with just four days remaining at the 15-day meet.

Bidding for ozeki promotion for the fourth time, the 31-year-old Kotomitsuki is believed to need at least 12 wins this time out to get the nod for a raise to sumo's second-highest rank.

Asashoryu is hoping to get back in the winner's circle after failing to win titles in the previous two meets.

Mongolian Hakuho earned promotion to yokozuna after winning back-to-back tournaments in March and May. He is aiming to become only the eighth wrestler to lift the Emperor's Cup on his yokozuna debut.

Hakuho, whose 25-bout winning streak ended against Kotomitsuki for his first defeat as a yokozuna on Tuesday, sent countryman Ama sprawling to an eighth defeat right after the faceoff when the sekiwake tried an ill-advised sidestep maneuver.

In other major bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai (7-4) knocked the daylights out of crowd-pleaser Takamisakari (2-9), ousting the No. 4 maegashira over the edge with a barrage of hard shoves to the body.



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