Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu won a heated brawl with Russian top maegashira Roho Monday to maintain his share of the lead with countryman Ama at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photoYokozuna Asashoryu sends No. 1 maegashira Roho out of the ring on Monday in ninth-day action of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In the day’s final bout, Roho tried to move inside for a grip on the yokozuna’s belt but never got control as Asashoryu tucked his head in and shook his opponent from side to side before sending Roho sprawling to the dohyo surface with a left-handed arm pulling technique to improve to 8-1 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asashoryu is gunning for his 18th career Emperor’s Cup and is the hot favorite to win back-to-back titles. Roho, who had shared the overnight lead with Asashoryu and Ama, slipped to a 7-2 record.

Mongolian ozeki Hakuho absorbed a fierce attack from Miyabiyama, deflecting the sekiwake’s beefy slaps and thrusts before sending his rival crashing into the ringside seats with a beltless arm throw.

Hakuho will have to win the remainder of his bouts while claiming the title to be considered for yokozuna promotion at the end of the 15-day meet. Miyabiyama, who is aiming to return to the ozeki rank, saw his hopes nearly dashed as he fell to 4-5.

In another key bout, No. 6 maegashira Ama emerged the winner to stay even with Asashoryu after putting up a brave fight against Estonian big man Baruto.

Ama tried to no avail to drop his opponent with a leg sweeping technique, but stayed in the lead when the top-ranked maegashira inadvertently stepped out with his left foot while trying to execute a throw near the edge. Baruto fell to 4-5.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai steamrolled over winless Tamakasuga in their first bout in six years, improving his mark to 7-2, while Bulgarian Kotooshu lost a battle with Tochiazuma after his ozeki rival swatted him with a sideways thrusting attack, leaving both men at 5-4.

Kotomitsuki (6-3) lost his career first bout to Aminishiki (7-2) after seven straight wins when the third-ranked maegashira dragged the sekiwake down by the neck after the face-off.

Futeno (7-2) stayed in the running with a force out of Kyokutenho, who slipped to 3-6.

Crowd pleaser Takamisakari got inside for a left-handed grip on Tochinonada (6-3) and twisted his opponent down to the dirt with a pulling overarm technique to improve to 5-4.

In an early bout, Hakurozan, who is suffering from a left-knee injury, did his best to withstand a relentless onslaught from Kotoshogiku but was finally heaved over the edge to his sixth defeat. Kotoshogiku improved to 4-5.

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