25 January 2004

Mongolian Wins Sumo Tourney (and Georgian Does Well, Too)

"Asashoryu Reaches Perfection," says today's headline on the Japan Times sumo results page.
Grand champion Asashoryu defeated Tochiazuma on Sunday to close out the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 15-0 record a day after capturing his fifth Emperor's Cup....

The 23-year-old Mongolian became the sole grand champion after Musashimaru retired during November's Kyushu tournament. With Sunday's win, he became the first wrestler to win all 15 bouts since Takanohana accomplished the feat in 1996.
He rarely took longer than 10 seconds to dispatch each of his opponents.

Tokyo's hometown favorite, Tochiazuma, finished with a disappointing 9-6 record, not enough to get him promoted from champion (ozeki) to grand champion (yokozuna) this time around.
Kokkai ['Black Sea'], who is from the former Soviet republic of Georgia and is the first European to compete in the sport's elite makuuchi division, finished with a respectable 8-7 record.
The other two Mongolian wrestlers in the makuuchi division did no better. Kyokushuzan, nicknamed "supermarket of tricks," finished at 8-7, while Asasekiryu finished at 7-8.

UPDATE: In the comments, reader Tom points out that yet another Mongolian Makuuchi division wrestler, Kyokutenho, also finished at a respectable 8-7.

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