Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Asashoryu takes Emperor's Cup a day ahead of final

AP , TOKYO

Yokozuna Asashoryu clinched his fourth Emperor's Cup on Saturday with a hard-fought win over Chiyotaikai on the second to last day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Fighting in the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu sidestepped ozeki Chiyotaikai at the face off and took control early.

Chiyotaikai desperately tried to regain his footing but was forced to the ring's edge, where he was thrown down by the feisty Mongolian, who improved to 12-2.

Chiyotaikai, who lost to Kaio on the final day of July's Nagoya tourney, dropped to 10-4. He needed a win over Asashoryu to force a showdown on the final day. It was a sweet victory for Asashoryu, who lost his previous two bouts and was roundly criticized by sumo's hierarchy after a hair-pulling incident at the Nagoya tourney.

"I was just trying to stay focused," said Asashoryu. "I had lost two in a row and didn't want to make it three so I'm very happy."

In other major bouts, No. 6 maegashira Kotomitsuki, who would have had a shot at the title if Asashoryu had lost, was shoved out by sekiwake Wakanosato.

Wakanosato, who handed Asashoryu his first loss of the tourney on Thursday, turned Kotomitsuki around at the edge of the ring and shoved him out from behind to give both wrestlers 10-4 records.

Ozeki Kaio flipped fellow ozeki Tochiazuma down at the edge of the ring but the judges ruled that Kaio stepped out with his right foot before Tochiazuma touched down.

Kaio, winner of July's Nagoya tourney, dropped to 7-7 while Tochiazuma improved to 10-4.

In a fiercely contested bout, crowd favorite Takamisakari locked horns with Mongolian Asasekiryu.

After being shoved back by Asasekiryu, Takamisakari held his ground and then hoisted his opponent over the straw ridge after getting a hold of his belt.

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