TOKYO (AP) — Grand champion Asashoryu of Mongolia beat compatriot Tokitenku on Sunday to win a one-day sumo tournament.

Asashoryu overpowered Miyabiyama in the semifinals before facing Tokitenku in the final at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asashoryu lost to compatriot Hakuho on the final day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament last month in his return to sumo after serving a two-tournament suspension for playing in a charity soccer tournament in Mongolia.

Asashoryu, who has won 21 Emperor’s Cups, became the first wrestler to win the annual one-day event three times in a row.

Hakuho started the one-day event from the second round but made an early exit after losing his first bout to Tokitenku, who defeated Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu in the semifinals.




Yokozuna Asashoryu made time in between interviews with TV “personality” Mina Monta to beat fellow Mongolian Tokitenku in the final of the 32nd Japan Ozumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday.

The yokozuna had a relatively straightforward route to the 2.5 million yen first prize, helped by yokozuna Hakuho’s loss to Tokitenku–a No. 1 maegashira at the New Year basho–in the second round.

(Feb. 11, 2008)

NAGOYA–A former sumo stablemaster was arrested Thursday on suspicionarrested sumo wrestlers of assault resulting in the death of a 17-year-old wrestler in June, police said.

The former Tokitsukaze stablemaster, whose real name is Junichi Yamamoto, was arrested along with three wrestlers from the stable over the death of Tokitaizan, whose real name was Takashi Saito, after apparent hazing. The three wrestlers are Yuichiro Izuka, 25 (known as Doto), Masanori Fujii, 22 (Tokiomaru), Masakazu Kimura, 24 (Akiyutaka).

Yamamoto, 57, became the first person to be arrested over a sumo-related incident that took place when he was a stablemaster.

According to the Aichi prefectural police and Inuyama Police Station, Yamamoto, the three arrested wrestlers and four others assaulted Saito during training sessions between 12:40 p.m. on June 25 and 11:30 a.m. on June 26 at the stable’s temporary lodgings in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, where they were staying ahead of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. Saito collapsed after full-contact practice called butsukarigeiko on June 26. He was sent to the hospital but died later the same day.

Yamamoto allegedly hit Saito over the head with a beer bottle on June 25 after the wrestler tried to flee the stable’s lodgings. Yamamoto also allegedly told the three wrestlers to assault Saito. During the butsukarigeiko, he allegedly hit Saito with a wooden stick.

According to the police, Yamamoto admitted to hitting Saito with a beer bottle, but he denied it was because Saito had tried to escape. Yamamoto also denied having instructed the wrestlers to assault Saito.

Izuka and Fujii basically admitted to the allegations, but Kimura said he believed he was disciplining Saito.

The police plan to send papers on four other wrestlers suspected of taking part in the assault.

The police initially said Saito died from illness, but an autopsy at Niigata University found he died from traumatic shock. Later, an examination by Nagoya University specialists of Saito’s body tissue also found a connection between the assault and his death.

Butsukarigeiko involves a wrestler repeatedly pushing an inert opponent, who is in a brace position, across the ring. It is designed to build stamina and usually occurs at the end of training sessions. Normally lasting for a maximum of five minutes, it is not uncommon for wrestlers to vomit after such training. Police say Saito was forced to undergo the training for about 30 minutes.

Yamamoto was dismissed by the Japan Sumo Association in October over the scandal.

JSA Chairman Kitanoumi lamented the arrest of Yamamoto and the three others Thursday night. “It’s so regrettable that sumo wrestlers have been arrested,” Kitanoumi said at a press conference held at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

The chairman said he hoped the four would cooperate with the police investigation. Referring to a possible punishment by the JSA on the four, he said, “We’ll take measures that we think necessary while looking at a future judicial judgment.”

He added that the JSA committee set up after the incident to examine ways to prevent a recurrence will take measures to handle the case.


Hakuno stops Asa/ Beats fellow yokozuna for 6th Emperos’s Cup
Asashoryu hits the dirt after being thrown to defeat by fellow yokozuna Hakuho in the final bout of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. The win earned Hakuho the first Emperor’s Cup of 2008.

In probably the most important bout of his short but illustrious sumo career, yokozuna Hakuho beat Asashoryu on Sunday to win the first Emperor’s Cup of 2008.

It was Hakuho’s third straight makuuchi division championship, but those victories had taken place with Asashoryu absent, suspended for playing hooky from a regional tour in the summer.

Throughout the second week of the New Year Tournament, the 22-year-old Hakuho had faced questions about how he would match up against his fellow Mongolian, a 21-time Emperor’s Cup winner who had beaten him 10 times in 15 career meetings.

Hakuho’s response on Sunday was to throw Asashoryu to the dirt to win the sixth Emperor’s Cup of his career.

“Since the summer tour, I’ve been working really hard for this bout,” Hakuho said ringside after he had received the cup from Japan Sumo Association chairman Kitanoumi.

“I didn’t want to lose to a yokozuna who was coming back [from an absence]. I didn’t want to let down my supporters–their expectations were very high.

“Of course, now I want to go for four in a row.”

There is no reason Hakuho can’t, although the smart money is on Asashoryu coming back strong after he was bested in a contest of two immensely proud men.

The two yokozuna refused to back down as they prepared for the bout, and once it started, lived up to their rank.

Hakuho was always on the attack but as with everyone who faces Asashoryu, had trouble turning that into victory.

A double-handed belt grip gave Hakuho a chance to force Asa to the bales, but Asa had the same grip on Hakuho’s belt and fought back, returning the contest to the middle of the ring.

Hakuho attacked again, forcing both into Asa’s side of the ring. Asa’s response was to lift his younger compatriot into the air, but it was an empty gesture. When Hakuho touched down, he started a left-hand, overarm throw that seemed to happen in slow motion before Asashoryu somersaulted to defeat.

Asashoryu’s performance over 15 days confirmed his recovery from the stress-related illness that left him a shadow of his former self in the summer. Sunday’s loss and a Day 2 reversal to No. 1 maegashira Kisenosato aside, the yokozuna swept aside every wrestler he met in the ring.

The rest of the day’s action paled in comparison to the final bout at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, but there was still more than pride on the line for some wrestlers.

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