Asashoryu Ties Musashimaru’s Record

Mongolian sumo grand champion Asashoryu won yet another tournament trophy, with yet another perfect 15-0 record. Fellow Mongolian Kyokushuzan (“Supermarket of Tricks“) won his first Fighting Spirit award, along with Futeno. Tom at That’s News to Me has a fuller recap.

Asashoryu is now tied with Samoan-born Hawai‘i-raised Musashimaru, now retired, for the most wins by a foreign rikishi, at 12 each. I expect Asashoryu to pull ahead at the next Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July, but I still like Musashimaru. According to this source, during the time the two faced each other in 2001-2002, Musashimaru won 5 out of their 9 bouts, but I’m sure Asashoryu has only gotten better since his rookie days. Here‘s what happened when the two faced each other on the opening day of the Nagoya tournament in July 2001, in which Musashimaru was the sole yokozuna and Asashoryu was a rising komusubi. A lot of other names familiar from recent tournaments also get mentioned.

NAGOYA, [2001] July 8 (Kyodo) – Yokozuna Musashimaru was all business on Sunday as the firm title favorite lifted komusubi Asashoryu out of the ring while three ozeki tumbled to opening-day defeats in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Musashimaru, the lone grand champion in the 15-day meet after summer tourney champion Takanohana pulled out because of a knee injury, let his experience do the talking as he calmly disposed of the 20-year-old Mongolian rising star at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Asashoryu tried to grapple head-on after the face-off but was muscled out of the ring easily in the day’s final bout, failing to repeat his upset win over the Samoan-born yokozuna on the first day of the summer tournament.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai, aiming to go better than his 12-3 finish in May, showed little resistance against Wakanosato as he backpedaled straight out of the ring to hand the komusubi returnee a comfortable win.

Sekiwake Tochiazuma gave the crowd another surprise when he pulled Musoyama out of the ring soon after the ozeki precariously came lunging out of the face-off, only to get himself off-balance against the upset-minded Tamanoi stable wrestler.

Also joining the list of upset victims was ozeki Miyabiyama, who got the better of top-ranked maegashira Hayateumi for much of their bout but lacked the finishing touches along the straw ridge in a force-out defeat.

In other feature bouts, Ozeki Kaio and Dejima both battled their ways to victory against maegashira opponents as they try to avoid relegation from sumo’s second highest rank after suffering dismal records in May.

Kaio quickly shoved No. 2 Kotonowaka out of the ring while Dejima, who also requires a minimum of eight wins to avoid demotion, was in total command as he thrust and slapped top-ranked Takanonami before lifting him out with an arm maneuver.

Earlier, No. 2 maegashira Higonoumi twisted and tossed sekiwake Kotomitsuki backwards over the edge. Takanowaka backed out Mongolian Kyokushuzan for an easy win in a bout between No. 5 maegashira.

At Nagoya the following year, Asashoryu bested Musashimaru, but the latter won their final bout at the Aki [Fall] Basho, where Musashimaru won the tournament then announced his retirement.

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