Sat, Jan 15, 2005 - Page 18 News List

Asashoryu leads all wrestlers in New Year meet

AP , TOKYO

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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