Asashoryu still is grand champion at New Year Sumo

Grand champion Asashoryu overpowered Tokitenku on Saturday to remain one win behind co-leaders Tochiazuma and Hokutoriki at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Mongolian Asashoryu had his hands full against the determined top maegahsira but finally prevailed when he used an arm throw to send Tokitenku sprawling to the dirt surface. Asashoryu, who improved to 6-1, won all six tournaments last year and is gunning for a record eighth straight Emperor's Cup in the New Year tourney. Tokitenku dropped to 1-6. Ozeki Tochiazuma, who needs a winning record to maintain his status, held on to his share of the lead at 7-0 after swatting down third-ranked maegashira Takekaze, who fell to 1-6.

Mongolian Hakuho relinquished his share of the lead when he stepped out in a bout with third-ranked maegashira Tochinohana. Sekiwake Hakuho was pushed back after the faceoff and stepped out with his left foot to fall to 6-1. Tochinohana improved to 2-5.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu muscled out winless komusubi Kyokutenho after forcing the Mongolian to the edge of the ring shortly after the faceoff. Kotooshu, who was promoted to sumo's second highest rank in November, picked up his fifth win against a pair of losses.

In an earlier bout, No. 11 maegashira Hokutoriki forced out 15th-ranked Wakatoba to remain tied for the lead at 7-0. Wakatoba dropped to 2-5. Russian Roho deployed a series of arm thrusts to send ozeki Kaio backpedaling out of the ring. No. 2 maegashira Roho picked up his fifth win against two losses while Kaio dropped to an unimpressive 3-4, reports the AP. N.U.