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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Asa dodges upset to keep pace

Kyodo News

Yokozuna Asashoryu dodged a bullet against Russian youngster Wakanoho while rival yokozuna Hakuho gave Kyokutenho a royal tanning to remain undefeated on the fourth day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

News photo
All-Mongolian battle: Yokozuna Hakuho unleashes an upper-arm throw to No. 2 maegashira Kyokutenho to stay undefeated in the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Wednesday. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu let Wakanoho inside for a right-handed underarm grip off the charge but tossed his 19-year-old opponent over the edge with a well-timed armlock throw to improve to 3-1, one behind his main rival at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In the day's final bout, Kyokutenho never had a chance after Hakuho got his preferred "migi-yotsu" grappling position and slammed his opponent to the dohyo surface with a powerful overarm throw. Kyokutenho slipped to 1-3.

The 15-day meet is shaping up nicely with the two usual suspects gaining momentum in every match and one unexpected demotion-threatened ozeki holding his own. Hakuho shares the early lead with Kotooshu and rank-and-filer Toyonoshima.

Kotooshu, who is 4-0 for the first time since gaining ozeki status 15 meets ago, is proving he does indeed pack a punch after the Bulgarian giant gained three kilograms to bring his weight to 155-kg for the Tokyo meet.

Asashoryu, who beat Hakuho on the final day of the spring meet in March, is in a bid for his 23rd Emperor's Cup while Hakuho is in the hunt for his seventh career title and first in two basho.

Kotooshu made short work of winless Georgian wrestler Kokkai, shoving down the top-ranked maegashira from the left immediately after the face-off to stay perfect.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai was abruptly shown the exit by Asasekiryu, who charged forward in a textbook frontal force out to improve to 3-1 while sending the ozeki to a 2-2 mark.

It was more misery for the ozeki rank as veteran Kaio fell to a third consecutive defeat at the hands of Miyabiyama (1-3), who tossed his opponent to the dohyo surface near the edge.

Kotomitsuki grappled with Estonian big man Baruto at the ring's center and sent the winless No. 1 maegashira tumbling to the dirt with a well-worked inner-thigh twisting technique to rebound from the previous day's loss.

Ama (2-2) appeared to have a bout won against Kisenosato, but the sekiwake fell awkwardly over the edge at the last second after shoving his komusubi opponent to a near defeat.

Kisenosato, who beat Asashoryu on the opening day and Kaio on Tuesday, improved to 3-1.

Earlier, Takamisakari did his best lunatic impersonation before the festivities with his chest-banging histrionics, but was swatted to the sandy surface by Takekaze, leaving both men at 1-3.

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