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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hakuho retains lead in Osaka

OSAKA (AP) Mongolian Hakuho stayed in sole possession of the lead of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday with an easy win over fellow ozeki Kaio.

Hakuho overcame a false start with a left-handed grab of Kaio's belt and effortlessly swung the grappler out of the ring to improve to 9-1. Kaio dropped to 4-6.

In the day's final bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, yokozuna Asashoryu defeated Kotomitsuki to stay one off the lead at 8-2. Mongolian Asashoryu initially struggled to get a grip on his opponent and the two stood arm-locked at center ring for several seconds before Asashoryu deflected a thrust by Kotomitsuki and dumped him to the dirt with an arm throw.

Asashoryu, who is bidding for his 21st Emperor's Cup, lost his first two bouts of the tournament, but has steadily been regaining form but is one of five wrestlers one off the lead pace.

The others were ozeki Tochiazuma and lower-ranked wrestlers Homasho, Kokkai and Tochiozan -- all notching wins Tuesday to advance to 8-2.

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