Tue, Mar 16, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Asashoryu shows sumo who's the boss

AP , OSAKA, JAPAN

Grand champion Asashoryu held on to his perfect start at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament yesterday, winning his second bout of the 15-day tourney.

No. 1 maegashira Miyabiyama attempted to get out of the Mongolia native's grip with a series of thrusts to Asashoryu's neck, but the yokozuna held firm, sending the lower-ranked wrestler to the dirt with his left arm.

Asashoryu won all 15 bouts at the New Year tournament and is the overwhelming favorite to win in Osaka. Coming out on top would give the Mongolia native -- the sport's only yokozuna at the moment -- his sixth title.

Three of sumo's four ozeki -- or champions -- meanwhile, won their matches at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. The fourth, Tochiazuma, suffered his second straight loss.

Chiyotaikai sent Dejima to the dirt by grabbing the No. 2 maegashira's right arm and quickly pushing down on his head. The ozeki improved to 2-0, while the lower-ranked wrestler slipped to 0-2.

Ozeki Kaio overwhelmed the physically smaller Kakizoe, sending him out of the ring after fighting off a series of attempted arm thrusts. The komusubi dropped to 0-2.

Musoyama improved to 1-1 in against Mongolia native Kyokushuzan. Though Musoyama was slow coming out of the face-off, he charged the No. 1 maegashira, forcing him to lose his balance and fall off the dirt mound.

Kyokushuzan dropped to 1-1.

Ozeki Tochiazuma suffered an upset for the second straight day with his loss to the lower-ranked Shimotori. After being locked in an embrace for several seconds as each struggled to grab hold of the other's belt, the komusubi got a secure hold on Tochiazuma's belt and flipped the ozeki to the ground.

Shimotori improved to 1-1.

Crowd favorite No. 8 maegashira Takamisakari won his second straight match after outmaneuvering Tokitsuumi. The wrestlers were stuck in a deadlock after they grabbed each other's belts, but Takamisakari pushed the No. 5 maegashira out of the ring.

No. 9 maegashira Kokkai, a native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, won his second straight bout with a quick thrust at Tochisakae's neck. The No. 7 maegashira fell to 1-1.

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