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Sumo: Terunofuji beats Asanoyama, maintains outright lead on Day 13

Terunofuji, right, defeats Asanoyama on the 13th day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on May 26, 2023. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Lone yokozuna Terunofuji took another step toward his eighth Emperor's Cup with an emphatic victory over former ozeki Asanoyama at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

    The Mongolian-born grand champion heads into the final weekend of the 15-day tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan with the outright lead at 12-1 after tossing No. 14 maegashira Asanoyama to the clay on Day 13.

    March tournament champion Kiribayama remains one win back at 11-2 after overcoming one of the top division's brightest new talents, 21-year-old No. 11 Hokuseiho (8-5). The Mongolian-born sekiwake, who is set for promotion to ozeki after the tournament, will face Terunofuji in Day 14's most anticipated bout.

    Back in the top division after a lengthy suspension for breaking coronavirus safety rules, Asanoyama (10-3) was looking to rebound from a loss to sekiwake Daieisho (8-5) that cost him a share of the lead on Thursday.

    But he was no match for a yokozuna in imperious form in his comeback from dual knee surgeries in October. Terunofuji anticipated Asanoyama's bid for an inside grip at the opening charge, snaring his left arm and dumping him on his back with an arm-lock throw.

    Kiribayama had to dig deep to overcome the 204-centimeter, 185-kilogram Hokuseiho. The pair locked into a long stalemate, each with one hand on the other's belt, until the sekiwake seized an opening to topple the highly touted youngster with an outside leg trip.

    Takakeisho, who started the meet as a demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki, secured his place at the second-highest rank by improving to 8-5 with a win against No. 6 Meisei.

    The ozeki claimed all-important victory No. 8 in a somewhat uninspiring fashion, sidestepping Meisei (8-5) at the jump and pushing him out from behind.

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