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Monday, May 14, 2007

Hakuho, Asa post 1st-day victories

Kyodo News

Mongolian-born ozeki Hakuho kick-started his campaign to reach sumo's ultimate rank with a takeout of Kotoshogiku, while countryman and grand champion Asashoryu blew away Toyonoshima on the first day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu pushes down komusubi Toyonoshima on the opening day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho went directly in for the kill with a left-handed grip after the faceoff and barreled the komusubi over the edge, but he nearly lost his balance at the last moment as Kotoshogiku flew into the ringside seats at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Hakuho, who beat Asashoryu in a playoff in March for his second title, must win at least 13 bouts before any talk of promotion to grand champion even begins. An added bonus would be a third overall title.

In the day's finale, Asashoryu tossed down Toyonoshima, who injured his leg in pre-tournament practice against the yokozuna.

Asashoryu, who has been the sole yokozuna for more than three years running, is aiming for his 21st Emperor's Cup and once again poses the biggest obstacle to Hakuho in gaining promotion on his third attempt.

Relegation-threatened Chiyotaikai, who is appearing at ozeki for a record 50th time, dispensed with Georgian Kokkai with a smack down maneuver while fellow ozeki Kaio muscled out top-ranked Mongolian maegashira Tokitenku.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu won his first bout against Homasho, snapping a two-bout losing skid against the top-ranked maegashira, getting his left hand on the back of his opponent's mawashi before pulling him forward onto the dohyo surface.

Mongolian Ama made quick work of Kaizoe, while fellow sekiwake Kotomitsuki swatted down Tamanoshima immediately after the faceoff.

Crowd favorite Takamisakari tossed aside South Korean Kasugao with an overarm throw.

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