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Asa maintains lead

Kyodo

Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu walloped Russian teenager Wakanoho to grab sole possession of the lead with a perfect record on the eighth day of action at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Rank-and-filers Homasho and Tochiozan fell out of a share of the lead with Asashoryu after losing their respective bouts early on, and the yokozuna made no mistakes in the day’s final bout to move atop with an 8-0 record.

Rival yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, stayed hot on Asashoryu’s heels, overpowering Tokitenku in a heated affair in the penultimate bout to improve to 7-1 at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

In his first meeting against Wakanoho, Asashoryu got both hands around the 19-year-old’s mawashi and quickly dumped the No. 4 maegashira over the edge, driving home his point with an emphatic sneer. Wakanoho slipped to an even mark of 4-4.

Hakuho went on the defensive out of the blocks, fearing a leg trip from compatriot Tokitenku (3-5), before heaving his opponent over the edge in a match that lasted over one minute.

Hakuho sits one off the pace with Homasho, Tochiozan and sumo funnyman Takamisakari.

Asashoryu is aiming for his first championship win in four meets and revenge over Hakuho, who spoiled his comeback from a two-tournament suspension with victory on the final day of the New Year meet in January.