Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 22 News List

Asashoryu stays unbeaten after he secures sumo title

AP , TOKYO

Grand champion Asashoryu defeated Miyabiyama and remained undefeated at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday, a day after clinching his 10th Emperor's Cup.

Fighting in the final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Mongolian Asashoryu swatted the sekiwake wrestler down to improve to 14-0 with one day remaining in the 15-day meet. Miyabiyama, who appeared to lose his footing, dropped to 9-5.

Asashoryu won the New Year title on Friday after his nearest rivals -- Mongolian Hakuho and South Korean Kasugao -- both lost.

With his 10th title, Asashoryu joined sumo greats Kitanoumi, Chiyonofuji and Taiho as the only wrestlers to win the New Year meet for three straight years since the establishment of the six-tournament system in 1958.

If he finishes with a win on the final day, it would mark the second straight year that Asashoryu has gone undefeated in the New Year tourney.

Asashoryu won five of six tournaments last year and looks poised for another impressive run this season. He is the lone yokozuna competing in sumo.

In other major bouts, sekiwake Tochiazuma is poised for a return to the ozeki ranks after nailing down his 10th win in a bout against top maegashira Tochinonada, who fell to 4-10.

Tochiazuma, who spent much of last year sidelined with injury, wasted little time when he took control and forced Tochinonada out with a series of arm thrusts to improve to 10-4.

Chiyotaikai improved to 8-6 and wrapped up the winning record he needs to maintain his ozeki status with a one-sided win over sekiwake Wakanosato.

Wakanosato, who headed into the New Year tourney with a chance for promotion to ozeki, dropped to 6-8 and will close out the meet with a losing record.

Mongolian Hakuho barely broke a sweat and picked up an easy win when Kotonowaka lost his footing at the faceoff.

Komusubi Hakuho improved to 10-4 while No. 2 maegashira Kotonowaka was handed his 10th loss against only four wins.

Georgian-born Kokkai, a No. 3 maegashirasent fifth-ranked maegashira Takamisakari backpedaling out of the ring.

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