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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Kotomitsuki, Asa remain tied at top

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Grand champion Asashoryu and sekiwake Kotomitsuki maintained their share of the lead Saturday, increasing the chance of a head-to-head clash on the final day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Ozeki Chiyotaikai slams down yokozuna Hakuho in 14th-day action of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's penultimate bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Asashoryu moved straight in for the kill against rank-and-filer Homasho (9-5), sending the No. 6 maegashira sprawling to the dirt with a powerful arm throw to improve to 13-1 along with Kotomitsuki.

Newly promoted Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho, however, saw his title hopes dashed when he was sent crashing to defeat at the hands of ozeki Chiyotaikai, who improved to 8-6.

Hakuho (11-3) was looking to become only the eighth wrestler to win the title in his yokozuna debut but was caught off-guard by the ozeki's hard blow at the faceoff and went tumbling forward after a swat to the head.

Kotomitsuki, meanwhile, had to dodge a bullet against Tochinonada (9-5), dragging down his opponent near the edge after a precarious retreat following the faceoff and all but secured his promotion to ozeki.

With the win over Tochinonada, Kotomitsuki meets the Japan Sumo Association's loosely set promotion standards of more than 12 wins in a meet with a total of 33 victories or more in three consecutive tournaments.

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