Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu dodged a bullet to beat compatriot Ama on Friday and zero in on his 18th Emperor’s Cup at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.
Asashoryu, who capitalized on a defeat for Ama (10-3) to take the sole lead a day earlier, got a fright after getting pulled off-balance in the day’s finale but recovered to squash the No. 6 maegashira and go two wins clear with two days left in the event at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The 25-year-old from Ulan Bator improved to 12-1 and can seal the championship title on Saturday with a victory over ozeki Chiyotaikai.
In the preceding bout Aminishiki’s (9-4) outside chances of the title were ended by ozeki Tochiazuma (8-5), who floored the No. 3 maegashira with a pulling overarm throw. Russian Roho and Hokutoriki also failed in bids for their 10th wins.
Meanwhile, Hakuho, wrestling for pride after blowing his chances of promotion to yokozuna, put up little resistance before getting pulled down by the back of his neck by ozeki rival Chiyotaikai (9-4). Hakuho dropped to 8-5.
But Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu enjoyed contrasting fortunes as he pulled off an impressive balancing act at the edge of the ring and tipped over fifth-ranked Tochinonada (6-7) for a winning record and an 8-5 mark.
At sekiwake, Kotomitsuki notched an eighth win by forcing out top-ranked Roho (9-4), and Miyabiyama (7-6) followed up with a hard-fought victory over second-ranked maegashira Tamanoshima (3-10).
Komusubi debutant Kokkai (7-6) improved his chances of avoiding a swift return to the maegashira ranks by beating Futeno (8-5), but Kisenosato (7-6) was unable to make it a winning double for sumo’s fourth rank after he got bulldozed out by Iwakiyama (8-5).
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