OSAKA — Yokozuna Asashoryu upended ozeki Kaio on the second to last day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday to win his 11th Emperor’s Cup.
With French President Jacques Chirac looking on, Mongolian Asashoryu used a textbook arm throw in the final bout at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium to send Kaio sprawling to the dirt surface. Chirac, who is on a three-day visit to Japan, is an avid sumo fan.
Asashoryu improved to 13-1 while Kaio fell to 10-4.
“I’ve faced him many times in the past and just tried to keep him from gaining control of the belt,” said Asashoryu. “It’s too bad I couldn’t go undefeated but I’m happy with the result.”
Asashoryu, the lone yokozuna competing in sumo, won the New Year tourney with a perfect 15-0 record and had been unstoppable until Friday’s loss to Tochiazuma, his first in 28 bouts.
In other major bouts, Mongolian Hakuho moved a step closer to posting a winning record in his sekiwake debut when he used an arm throw at the edge to dispatch No. 2 maegashira Kotomitsuki, who fell to 9-5.
Hakuho, who improved to 7-7, got off to a slow start in this tourney with three straight losses but has recovered nicely and could post a winning record with a victory over Miyabiyama on the final day.
In a showdown of ozeki, Tochiazuma came in low at the faceoff, got a grip of Chiyotaikai’s belt and shoved his opponent out to pick up his ninth win against five losses.
Chiyotaikai fell to 6-8 and will finish the Spring meet with a losing record.
In an earlier bout, No. 7 maegashira Tamanoshima improved to 11-3 when he swatted down No. 2 maegashira Kakizoe, who dropped to 6-8.
Russian Roho, a No. 6 maegashira, took advantage of a mistake by Miyabiyama at the faceoff and improved to 10-4 when he swatted the sekiwake down in a matter of seconds. Miyabiyama fell to 5-9.
Georgian-born Kokkai picked up a win when Wakanosato stepped out over the straw ridge before both wrestlers fell out.
No. 4 maegashira Kokkai improved to 8-6, while top maegashira Wakanosato fell to 7-7.
Fourth-ranked maegashira Dejima tripped up Bulgarian Kotooshu for his seventh victory against seven losses. Kotooshu, who was promoted to komusubi after the New Year tournament, has failed to impress in his debut at the sport’s fourth-highest rank and dropped to 3-11.
Komusubi Iwakiyama earned his fourth win when he got a right-hand grip of Tochinonada’s belt and lifted the No. 4 maegashira out to improve to 4-10.
Tochinonada dropped to 7-7 and will have to wait for the final day for a shot at a winning record.
Fan favorite Takamisakari saw his record improve to nine wins as he immediately bulldozed out Tamakasuga, who slipped to 7-7. Sumo’s clown prince puffed up his chest with pride as he walked back to the dressing room.