TOKYO, Sept. 25 KYODO
Asashoryu wins 6th consecutive title in playoff with Kotooshu
Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu (R) overpowers Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu in a playoff at th…
Yokozuna Asashoryu overpowered Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu in a playoff at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament Sunday to win a record-tying sixth consecutive title.
Asashoryu, who suffered a defeat to komusubi Futeno on the opening day and a second defeat to Aminishiki on the 11th day, battled back to win his career 14th title and matched a 38-year-old record of sixth straight titles held by sumo legend Taiho.
”I can’t believe it. After losing two, I knew I had to fight to the last bout. I changed my attitude in the final days for the title,” Asashoryu said.
Kotooshu, who at one point led the tournament with a two-win edge over the yokozuna at 12-0 and was aiming to become the first European to capture a sumo title, never got his attack rolling as he was quickly moved over the edge in storm of slaps by the Mongolian grand champion at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
It was the first time since former yokozuna Akebono and Musashimaru faced each other at the Kyushu meet in 1993 that two foreign wrestlers battled in a playoff for the title.
”I realized that I had to do my best if I wanted to win the title. I have to thank all my fans for all their support,” said Asashoryu, who will aim to become the first wrestler in history to win seven straight at the Kyushu meet in November.
With a title win in Kyushu, Asashoryu would also become the first person to ever win all six titles in a single year.
In his final regulation bout, Kotooshu put his lost from the previous day to Kisenosato behind him with a convincing victory over ozeki Chiyotaikai to book his playoff with Asashoryu while picking up his second Fighting Sprit Prize.
The sekiwake never gave Chiyotaikai (10-5) a look in as he wrapped both hands around his opponent and steamrolled him over the edge in a matter of seconds to move to 13-2.
Asashoryu was next and rocked ozeki Tochiazuma (10-5) with a shoulder to the head that knocked the ozeki flat on his back for a 13-2 record.
In the day’s first bout, Kisenosato got both hands wrapped around the belt of Wakatoba (8-7) before muscling his opponent over the edge to improve to 12-3 and claimed his first Fighting Sprit Prize.
Kisenosato, a 16th-ranked maegashira, had a mathematical chance to become the youngest wrestler to win a title at 19 years, two months, surpassing the previous record held by former yokozuna Takanohana before Kotooshu and Asashoryu set up the playoff.
Tamanoshima ensured himself of a promotion in rank by winning his 11th bout, blasting out Kotomitsuki (9-6).
In other bouts, Ama tossed down Kotoshogiku (7-8) with an arm throw right after the faceoff to improve to 9-6 while giant killer Aminishiki wrenched the arm of Russian Roho (8-7) before pulling him over the edge for a 7-8 mark.
Hakuho, nursing an injured ankle, absorbed a fierce charge from Miyabiyama (6-9) before dumping his opponent down at the edge of the ring with an arm throw to improve to 9-6.
Kokkai, a wrestler from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, finally put his back into it to win his third in a row, getting both hands wrapped around Iwakiyama (7-8) before heaving his opponent over the ridge.
Crowd favorite Takamisakari huffed and puffed in his pre-bout ritual but was blown down by Dejima (7-8) in a matter of seconds to fall to a disappointing 5-10.
TOKYO, Sept. 25 KYODO