Asa has 20th Cup in reach

The Associated Press

Grand champion Asashoryu dispatched veteran Kaio on Friday to stay on target for his 20th Emperor’s Cup at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photoYokozuna Asashoryu sends ozeki Kaio out of the ring, keeping the lead with his 12th win, on the 13th day
of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Mongolian Asashoryu spun ozeki Kaio around in the day’s final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan and forced his opponent out to improve to 12-1 with two days left in the tournament. Kaio dropped to 6-7.

Ninth-ranked maegashira Toyonoshima kept his title hopes alive, getting both arms around Ushiomaru and forcing out the No. 15 maegashira to improve to 11-2. Ushiomaru stands at 8-5.

A win by Asashoryu on Saturday coupled with a loss by Toyonoshima would give the yokozuna his 20th title.

In other major bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai took advantage of his size advantage and used his trademark arm thrusts to send Mongolian Ama backpedalling off the raised ring.

Chiyotaikai improved to a 9-4 while fourth-ranked maegashira Ama dropped to 8-5.

Ozeki Kotooshu of Bulgaria deployed an arm throw at the edge of the ring to send Tochiazuma sprawling to the dirt surface.

Kotooshu improved to 9-4 while Tochiazuma dropped to 5-8 and will need to post a winning record in the next tournament to maintain his ozeki status.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki ensured himself of a winning record after forcing out Mongolian ozeki Hakuho to give both wrestlers a record of 8-5.

Top maegashira Kotoshogiku forced out Russian Roho to pick up his seventh win against six losses.