Monday, March 19, 2007
The Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka started last Sunday.
Overshadowing the weeks before the basho were alleged bout rigging claims made by the weekly Shukan Gendai magazine.
The Japan Sumo Association, Asashoryu and sixteen other wrestlers replied by filing a defamation lawsuit against the magazine.
An in-house commission of the JSA questioned Asashoryu and other wrestlers who all denied match-fixing.
As to the tournament itself, Asashoryu was quoted by some newspapers as odds on favourite to pick up his 21st Emperors Cup after his January New Years victory in Tokyo.He became only the fifth wrestler to achieve twenty Emperor Cup wins.
So it was with some shock that Asa lost his first two bouts.He was 0-2 for the first time since the 2001 Nagoya Tournament.He has since gone on to win all his next matches.He currently stands at 6-2 on day eight.
Leading contenders for the Emperors Cup are ozekis Tochiazuma and Hakuho at seven wins and one loss apiece.
At this stage with Asashoryu back in the pack the tournament remains interestingly wide open and a number of wrestlers vying for the Spring Sumo Tournament title.
Posted by Tim at 8:04 AM