• The Associated Press


Grand champion Asashoryu won his ninth straight bout Monday to maintain the sole undefeated record at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, while ozeki Tochiazuma fell to maegashira Takamisakari.

Asashoryu overcame a tough challenge from Tokitsuumi on the ninth day of the tourney at Ryogoku Kokugikan, as the No. 4 maegashira charged forward from the face-off. The grand champion, however, forcefully pushed the lower-ranked grappler back out of the ring.

In the day’s biggest upset, Tochiazuma lost to No. 3 maegashira Takamisakari, falling to 7-2. The defeat put him behind championship contenders fellow ozeki Chiyotaikai and maegashira-ranked Kotomitsuki and Kakizoe, who all protected their one-loss records.

Tochiazuma, who is hoping to win a promotion to sumo’s highest rank of grand champion, lunged forward at Takamisakari after the face-off but lost his balance when the crowd favorite grabbed hold of his back and pushed him to the dirt and out of the ring.

The ozeki, who won November’s Kyushu tournament, needs at least 13 wins this tournament to be promoted to yokozuna.

Ozeki Musoyama forfeited his bout against Kaio after being forced to pull out of the tournament.

Doctors said Musoyama damaged the ligaments in his left knee after Tamanoshima sent him sprawling during their bout on Sunday.

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