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Thursday, March 17, 2005
Hakuho gets in win column
OSAKA (AP) Mongolian Hakuho finally got on the winning track Wednesday with a hard-fought win over Kotooshu at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho, who came into the spring meet fresh off promotion to sumo's third highest rank of sekiwake, got a grip of Kotooshu's belt after a prolonged standoff and flipped the Bulgarian grappler over at the edge to pick up his first win against three losses.
Kotooshu also came into the 15-day meet at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium with high expectations after promotion to komusubi, but has failed to impress so far and dropped to 0-4.
Hakuho, who celebrated his 20th birthday just before the start of the Spring tourney, looked lost in his first three bouts but displayed the poise Wednesday that has earned him a reputation as one of the most promising wrestlers.
Elsewhere, it was business as usual for grand champion Asashoryu, who remained tied for the lead at 4-0 after posting an easy win over fellow-Mongolian and top maegashira Kyokutenho, who fell to 2-2.
Going back to the New Year tourney, where he went 15-0, Asashoryu has now won 19 straight bouts.
In other major bouts, ozeki Kaio was handed his first loss when he was shoved out over the edge after a crushing blow at the faceoff from No. 2 maegashira Kotomitsuki, who improved to 3-1.
Kaio, who was bidding for promotion to grand champion in the New Year tourney, needs a winning record here to maintain his ozeki status.
Ozeki Tochiazuma improved to 2-2 when he forced out Wakanosato, after getting both arms around the top maegashira, who dropped to 1-3.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai deployed his rapid-fire arm thrusts to send Iwakiyama backpedaling over the edge. Chiyotaikai improved to 3-1 while recently promoted komusubi Iwakiyama dropped to 0-4.
In earlier bouts, No. 7 maegashira Tamanoshima and 10th-ranked Kaiho remained in the lead at 4-0 with wins over rank-and-filers Kotonowaka and Shimotori, respectively.
Fan favorite Takamisakari, a No. 8 maegashira, forced out Mongolian Kyokushuzan to improve to 3-1. Kyokushuzan, a No. 6 maegashira, fell to 2-2.
In a showdown of No. 4 maegashira wrestlers, Georgian-born Kokkai was handed his first loss of the tourney after being swatted down at the center of the ring by Tochinonada.