• Kyodo


Yokozuna Musashimaru crashed to his first defeat at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, slipping up once again against long-time rival Takanonami.

But ozeki Asashoryu showed no signs of slowing down, taking sole possession of the lead after maintaining his perfect record with a no-nonsense win over Tamakasuga.

The final bout of the day brought together the two veterans for the 57th time in sumo’s elite division, with the Samoan-born giant looking for revenge after an opening-day defeat at the Autumn sumo meet in September.

But it was the top-ranked maegashira Takanonami who took the honors for the 20th time. As the grand champion moved in to muscle out the former ozeki, Takanonami attempted to wriggle free and claimed the win when Musashimaru stepped outside the bales to leave both wrestlers at 4-1.

After posting eight straight wins to open his debut tournament as ozeki last time out, fiery Mongolian Asashoryu (5-0) stayed on course to repeat the feat after easing past winless Tamakasuga.

With yokozuna Takanohana and Kaio absent, Nagoya champion Chiyotaikai is widely predicted to push hard for a second Emperor’s Cup of the year.

The ozeki barely broke sweat in notching a fourth win over Tamanoshima (0-5), blasting the No. 3 maegashira back out of the ring in seconds.

Also staying just one off the pace at 4-1 was Musoyama, who overpowered feisty Takamisakari (3-2).

Little is going right for struggling Tochiazuma, who dropped to 1-4 and is in danger of losing his ozeki status after a third straight defeat at the hands of komusubi Kyokutenho (3-2).

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