FUKUOKA – Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu disposed of rank-and-filer Futeno to win his second straight bout at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
In the day’s final bout, Asashoryu appeared in trouble when the No. 2 maegashira managed to back him to the ring’s edge, but the yokozuna quickly recovered getting a strong belt grip on his opponent before escorting winless Futeno out of the ring.
Asashoryu is the odds-on favorite to win the Emperor’s Cup after ozeki and countryman Hakuho withdrew from the 15-day meet with a broken toe.
The Mongolian brawler is aiming for third straight title and to lock down the most victories in a year for the fifth year in succession. Former yokozuna greats Taiho and Kitanoumi are the only wrestler to achieve the feat.
Meanwhile, there were no surprises at sumo–s second-highest rank as the four remaining ozeki each stayed on course with Asashoryu with wins over their respective opponents at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Chiyotaikai hit Kotoshogiku (0-2) with a salvo of his trademark thrusts before tossing the No. 2 maegashira to the dohyo surface while fellow ozeki Kaio gave his home town fans a cheer after pulling down Georgian komusubi Kokkai (1-1) to remain undefeated.
Injury-weary Kaio is wrestling with his rank on the line for a record 10th time and needs to post at least eight wins at the 15-day meet to ensure ozeki status at the next tourney.
Ozeki Tochiazuma dropped his head down low against Kisenosato (1-1), control the match from start to finish in a relentless thrusting attack, before swatting the komusubi to the dirt.
Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu got a left-handed grip on the back of Dejima’s belt and flipped his rival using a well-timed overarm throw to improve to 2-0. Dejima, a No. 3 maegashira, slipped to 1-1.
Russian komusubi Roho (1-1) made short work of Mongolian top maegashira Ama (0-2), getting an effective right-handed grip on his opponent’s mawashi before lifting out his rival.
Miyabiyama floored Iwakiyama, smacking the No. 1 maegashira forward to the dirt after the face-off to improve to 2-0, while fellow sekiwake Kotomitsuki (2-0) wrapped both rams around komusubi Aminishiki (0-2) and moved quickly to edge before depositing his rival outside the ring to stay perfect.
Mongolian veteran Kyokutenho heaved out Korean wrestler Kasugao in a matter of seconds to improve his slate to 1-1 while leaving his opponent with the same record.
Meanwhile, Kyokushuzan, who became the first wrestler from Mongolia to join sumo in 1992, retired Monday, saying he is suffering from a heart ailment. Kitazakura won their bout by default to improve to 1-1.
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