Thu, May 22, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Bulgarian stuns Asashoryu to take lead in Tokyo

AP , TOKYO

Grand champion Hakuho, center, is thrown out of the ring by sekiwake Ama at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday. At right is yokozuna Asashoryu.

PHOTO: AP

Bulgarian Kotooshu moved closer to becoming the first European to win the Emperor's Cup when he conquered grand champion Asashoryu yesterday at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

In the last and most anticipated bout of the day, the partisan crowd roared as the 25-year-old ozeki clashed with Asashoryu, powering the Mongolian yokozuna out of the ring.

Even Kotooshu seemed stunned. A smile of relief washed over his face as Asashoryu made his exit. Kotooshu is now 11-0 and in sole possession of the tournament lead.

He began the 15-day meet with the modest ambition of posting a winning record to avoid demotion. But now in the midst of his most impressive showing in years, Kotooshu is on the brink of history.

Asashoryu, meanwhile, dropped to 9-2, and a tie for third place with No. 5 maegashira Toyonoshima.

Sitting in second place at 10-1 is yokozuna Hakuho, who is gunning for his seventh career title.

The 23-year-old rebounded from an upset on Tuesday with a win over Chiyotaikai. The Mongolian charged the ozeki from the ring after managing to untangle himself from his grip.

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