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Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009

Asa keeps eyes on title in win over Harumafuji

Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozunaAsashoryu continued his march towards a 24th Emperor's Cup on Wednesday after victory over countryman Harumafuji kept him one win clear of the field heading down the final stretch of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Chasing Asashoryu: Yokozuna Hakuho forces out ozeki Kaio to stay one-win behind undefeated Asashoryu on Wednesday. KYODO PHOTO

Seeking his first title since beating Hakuho in a playoff on his comeback to the raised ring at the New Year basho, Asashoryu (11-0) proved an immovable object in the day's penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Harumafuji put up a brave fight but Asashoryu seized his chance, breaking a mid-ring stalemate and flooring the ozeki with an overarm throw to maintain his flawless record.

Hakuho (10-1) stayed hot on Asashoryu's heels and in contention for back-to-back championships with a routine win over veteran ozeki Kaio (7-4).

Kotomitsuki (9-2) stayed two wins off the pace thanks to a default victory over fellow ozeki Chiyotaikai (2-9), who pulled out of the 15-day meet earlier in the day because of injuries to his left knee and right arm.

The 33-year-old Chiyotaikai, who suffered his eighth defeat at the hands of rank-and-filer Tamanoshima on Tuesday, will now face demotion for a record 14th time at the Kyushu meet in November.

Kotooshu's (8-3) slim title hopes took another big hit after the Bulgarian suffered his second consecutive defeat, this time falling to Estonian behemoth Baruto.

Mongolian No. 3 maegashira Kakuryu secured a majority of wins with a force-out victory over sekiwake Kisenosato, who dropped to 5-6.

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