Asashoryu pummels Kotooshu to remain in front

The Associated Press

Grand champion Asashoryu pounded Kotooshu at the faceoff on Wednesday to remain undefeated and in the sole lead at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Mongolian Asashoryu, who is gunning for his fourth straight Emperor’s Cup and 12th overall, improved to 11-0 when he delivered a fierce blow to the face to send the stunned Bulgarian over the edge in the day’s final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan. No. 5 maegashira Kotooshu, who left the ring with a cut under his eye, fell to 7-4 in the 15-day tourney.

Chiyotaikai and Mongolian Kyokushuzan are one win off the pace at 10-1.

In other major bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai dodged to his side seconds after the face and then stood by and watched as sekiwake Tosanoumi went tumbling face first into the dirt surface.

Chiyotaikai, who has already wrapped up the winning record he needs here to maintain his ozeki status, barely broke a sweat. Tosanoumi, meanwhile, dropped to 3-8.

Ozeki Tochiazuma kept his slim title hopes alive and improved to 9-2 when he used a barrage of arm thrusts and shoves to send Iwakiyama out over the straw ridge. No. 4 maegashira Iwakiyama continues to struggle and fell to 2-9.

Sekiwake Hakuho, who lost four straight earlier in the tournament, posted his fifth straight win when he threw down compatriot Kyokutenho at the middle of the ring.

Hakuho improved to 7-4 while No. 3 maegashira Kyokutenho was handed his seventh loss against four wins.

Komusubi Kotomitsuki continued his impressive run in this tourney when he swatted down Tochinonada to pick up his ninth win against two losses. No. 2 maegashira Tochinonada has not had a strong outing and dropped to an unimpressive 2-9.

Mongolian Kyokushuzan stayed in the hunt and improved to 10-1 when he shoved out No. 6 maegashira Hokutoriki, who dropped to 7-4.

No return for Kaio Kyodo News Ozeki Kaio, who pulled out of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament last week due to a hip injury, will not return to the ring during the 15-day meet, his stablemaster Tomozuna said Wednesday.

Missing the rest of the tournament means the 32-year-old veteran will post a losing record and need to win at least eight bouts at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July to retain his ozeki rank.