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Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Asa ignores death threat, remains unbeaten

Kyodo News

Asashoryu's comeback gathered momentum as the Mongolian grand champion shrugged off a death threat to shoot down countryman Kyokutenho and make it three wins out of three at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

News photo
Third straight win: Ozeki Kaio (right) pushes No. 1 maegashira Kotoshogiku out of the ring for his third consecutive victory at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu showed glimpses of his old self in the day's penultimate bout, relentlessly yanking Kyokutenho (0-3) around before calmly flooring the No. 1 maegashira with a beltless arm throw.

Asashoryu's 32nd victory in 34 meetings against Kyokutenho helped alleviate some of the pressure the yokozuna is facing at the 15-day meet, having sat out the last three meets because of injury.

Elsewhere, Asashoryu's compatriot and title favorite Hakuho also scored a third win, but Harumafuji's miserable start to his ozeki debut continued when he was thrown down to a third defeat by komusubi Toyonoshima (1-2).

Seeking his fourth straight title, Hakuho had an easy day at the office and barely broke sweat in marching out second-ranked Miyabiyama (1-2).

Hakuho beat Harumafuji (then called Ama) in a championship playoff in Kyushu after the two tied with 13-2 win-loss records.

Harumafuji's defeat to Toyonoshima spoiled an otherwise perfect day for wrestlers at sumo's second rank as Kotomitsuki, Chiyotaikai, Kaio and Kotooshu all prevailed.

Kotomitsuki (1-2) finally moved into the winning column after shoving out third-ranked Goeido (2-1) while Chiyotaikai stayed perfect by countering to send out sekiwake Aminishiki (1-2) with a right-handed neck thrust.



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