Sat, Jan 15, 2005 - Page 18 News List

Asashoryu leads all wrestlers in New Year meet


Grand champion Asashoryu tossed aside Kakizoe yesterday to maintain sole possession of the lead at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

After a crushing blow at the faceoff of the day's final bout, Asshoryu forced Kakizoe to the edge and lifted him a meter off the ground before depositing the No. 4 maegashira in the first row of seats at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asashoryu, who won five of six tournaments last year, improved to a perfect 6-0 while Kakizoe dropped to 1-5.

Asashoryu holds a one-win lead over three others including Mongolian compatriots Hakuho and Kyokutenho.

Rising star Hakuho barely broke a sweat when he used an arm throw to send hapless komusubi Kotomitsuki sprawling to the dirt surface.

Komusubi Hakuho, who has now won five in a row after losing to Asashoryu on the opening day, stands one win off the pace at 5-1 while Kotomitsuki slumped to 2-3.

Mongolian Kyokutenho, a sixth-ranked maegashira, stayed in the thick of things when he forced Tochinonada to the edge and bulldozed the top maegashira out to improve to 5-1. Tochinonada fell to 2-4.

Sekiwake Tochiazuma fought off a series of arm thrusts and stayed one win off the pace at 5-1 when he shoved out ozeki Chiyotaikai.

Ozeki Kaio dodged a bullet when he was forced back to the edge by winless No. 3 maegashira Tamanoshima but used solid footwork on the raised ring to even his record at 3-3.

Kaio came into the tournament looking for promotion to grand champion but has virtually no chance of moving up a rank after getting off to a slow start.

Georgian-born Kokkai improved to 2-4 and made sure Wakanosato can pretty much forget about promotion to ozeki.

Kokkai, a No. 3 maegashira, twisted Wakanosato down at the edge to hand the sekiwake grappler his fourth straight loss.

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